Is It Wheat Belly? Or Cortisol Belly?

Is it Wheat Belly? Or cortisol belly? I finally figured out why I haven’t been able to lose the baby fat on my mid-section.

You know that extra spare tire you put on after you gave birth. If you’re under 30, maybe you don’t know. If you’re over 30, you know what I’m talking about.

I have had extra junk in the trunk ever since Kate was born 4 years ago. Only it ain’t in the trunk. It’s stuck on my belly, waist, and to a lesser degree, my hips and thighs. It’s not a lot of weight — only 10 or 15 pounds. But it’s enough to make me hate shopping for clothes.

No matter what I’ve done, I can’t seem to get rid of it. I gave up grains and starches for a couple months on the GAPS diet. Nada. I tried low carb. More than once. No change. I had success losing some weight with [easyazon_link identifier=”030746363X” locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]The Four Hour Body[/easyazon_link]. (Yay! 15 pounds!). Alas, the belly fat didn’t budge.

A few nights ago, as I was surfing the web on my iPhone at 3 in the morning, I finally found the answer.

Wheat Belly?

And guess what? It doesn’t have squat to do with wheat. Speaking of [easyazon_link identifier=”1609614798″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]Wheat Belly[/easyazon_link] (a new book I have yet to read but it’s on my list) I loved this post by Matt Stone’s 180 Degree Health blog the other day: Wheat Belly.

I loved Matt’s post not because it was a work of literary genius (although I enjoy Matt’s writing very much and I especially liked the term he coined, “wheat hunt” instead of witch hunt). Nor was his post particularly scientifically sound — a bunch of young guys with great metabolism eating pizzas doesn’t really prove anything. I ate tons of pizza when I was in my 20s and I had a flat stomach, too.

I love that Matt is one of the few (the only?) voices out there sticking up for wheat, the latest whipping boy in the real food world. I’m so tired of people blaming grains for every health problem under the sun. I’m sick to death of hearing people tell me if I just ate fewer carbs and cut out grains, I’d be “lean”. Guess what, guys? Tried it; didn’t work. (And come talk to me after you’ve had a baby and you’re over 40.)

But I digress… You guys want to hear about my belly fat revelation.

High Cortisol at Night

Cut back to me surfing the web at 3 am.

Why the heck was I up at 3 am? You see, this is the other thing that’s been happening to me since Kate was born. Unrelenting insomnia. I have been waking up every night between 2 and 4 am since 2007.

When I started Real Food Media back in 2008, I was so busy working, I would often just get up at 3 or 4 and work until Kate woke up in the morning. I figured I was getting a few extra hours. I know, crazy! Of course, back then I was still drinking coffee so it was easy to get by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. (Click here to read how I gave up coffee.)

I always fall back asleep. Usually it only takes 10 or 15 minutes, but sometimes I’m up for hours. (Actually, when I was still drinking coffee, it took a lot longer to fall back to sleep.)

Thank You, Julia Ross

It was Julia Ross, author of [easyazon_link identifier=”0142003646″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]The Mood Cure[/easyazon_link] who told me on the phone a month ago that waking up in the middle of the night is a sign of high cortisol. When she said that, two things came to my head. (1) High cortisol causes belly fat. (2) High cortisol has to do with adrenal exhaustion (something I’ve struggled with on and off for years — you know how much I used to love my coffee!).

During our phone consultation, I raved to Julia about how my nighttime cravings for sweets, carbs and wine were disappearing with the help of 3 square meals, plenty of fat and protein, and a cocktail of amino acids (Click here to read How I Kicked My Wine and Chocolate Cravings. I told her the only thing that was still bothering me was waking up at night. No matter how much Tryptophan and I took before bed, I’d still wake up at 2 or 3 am, ready to take on the world. I’d lie there in bed, thinking about someone I need to email and deliberating about some problem I was having at work.

Low Blood Sugar and Cortisol

Julia told me that this is very common and it’s often caused by hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. When you eat dinner around 6 or 7, by 2 or 3 am, it’s been 8 or 9 hours since you’ve eaten. Your blood sugar drops and your adrenals come to the rescue by pumping up the cortisol. And your eyes pop open and you are UP. If any of you are going through this, you know how annoying it is.

I know I have hypoglycemia because ever since I’ve been following the Julia Ross [easyazon_link identifier=”0142003646″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]The Mood Cure[/easyazon_link] protocol, I have noticed that if I skip a meal or don’t eat enough protein and fat at a meal, I end up feeling shaky, weak and dizzy. One time it was so bad, I literally couldn’t see straight.

For me, the early evening was particularly bad. Looking back, it was because I had skipped either breakfast or lunch. By 5 or 6 pm, I was starving. And that was when I’d reach for a glass of wine. Take the edge off. It also helped me to relax. Which I desperately needed because my cortisol was rising at night (after intermittently starving myself since the night before) and I was doing whatever I could to calm down.

And this is why the cravings for sweets and carbs came later in the evening. Because the wine was a temporary fix but eventually — a few hours after dinner — I’d start to crash. And I needed another fix. Chocolate or potato chips or whatever I could find in the cupboard. And I always had a stash.

Problem is, wine, sweets and carbs don’t sustain. You will crash. And that crash happens around 2 or 3 am.

And yes, the fact that you skipped breakfast this morning and propped yourself up with coffee DOES affect you tonight. You will pay eventually.

What Really Sucks About High Nighttime Cortisol

Being woken up in the middle of the night is bad. But there is something even worse. Remember that thing about high cortisol and belly fat? Yeah, not only am I getting woken up every dang night by my adrenal glands in overdrive, but it’s making me fat!

I was annoyed before, but when I realized this the other night at 3 am, I was pissed! Here I was, all these years, eating too little because I was trying to lose weight, and skipping meals because I’d heard about the benefits of intermittent fasting — and not only was it was making me drink too much and eat too much chocolate, but it was making me FAT!

How to Lower Cortisol at Night

Thankfully, Julia told me what to do to remedy the situation. First of all, she said to have a late-night snack. Right before bed, eat something balanced with enough fat and protein. Like maybe a whole wheat cracker with some peanut butter or cheese or hummus.

So I tried it. Last night I had a few ounces of raw cheese, some raw milk (yes, I’m on the GAPS diet but I have no problem with dairy,) and a tablespoon of peanut butter.

And guess what? I slept through the night! I was so thrilled to wake up at 7:30 this morning. I slept like a rock!

She also told me about a supplement called Seriphos. It’s an amino acid supplement that people take for a short period of time to help lower cortisol. Needless to say, the other night at 3 am when I realized I was fat from these cortisol surges, I hit the one-click on Amazon.

Tonight’s my first night on the Seriphos. I’ll let you know in the comments tomorrow how it goes! Oh, yeah, and I’m going to make sure I have my bedtime snack. And I’m hitting the sack by 10 pm.

Wheat Belly? Nope, Cortisol Belly!

I know there are a lot of people out there who are gluten-intolerant. There’s no question about that. And it’s true, those folks should avoid wheat (they should also fix their abnormal gut flora, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post).

But blaming bloated bellies on wheat consumption is simplistic and ridiculous. (OK, OK I’ll read [easyazon_link identifier=”1609614798″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]Wheat Belly[/easyazon_link] and then I’ll write another blog post. I gotta give the man his due.)

The fact of the matter is that eating wheat is not going to make you fat if you have healthy adrenal glands and perfect metabolism. I ate wheat pretty much daily for 39 years (except for the 2 years I went without when I was healing my gut) and was thin as a rail. It was after the birth of my first child that my hormones got wacky and I gained weight. Wheat or no wheat, the spare tire doesn’t budge.

And avoiding wheat is not going to make you lose weight if your adrenals are fried. And yeah, pregnancy, childbirth and nursing are stressful — and hard on your adrenals.

So is coffee.

Maybe I should have called this post “Coffee Belly.” Or “Sugar Belly.” The truth is, if you think you’re going to lose weight by skipping the wheat but continuing to drink your daily cup of joe and eating your dark chocolate, think again. It will catch up with you. If you crave coffee in the morning, that’s a sure sign of adrenal fatigue.

The funny thing is, all of this information is in Julia’s book, [easyazon_link identifier=”0142003646″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]The Mood Cure[/easyazon_link]. I read that book for the first time in 2008. Isn’t it strange how it takes us so long to figure things out?

I’m excited to see how things go with this new discovery. I will keep you posted!


I was in a rush to get this posted last night before 10 pm (have to get to bed early for my adrenals). I neglected to mention that you should get your cortisol levels checked with a saliva test. Julia Ross goes over this in her book.

I did this last year and my results show normal cortisol in the morning, low mid-day, and normal at night. I didn’t do the 5-times-per-day test that Julia recommends (one more test at night) but I am pretty certain that it would show that it is high at night. This is a pretty typical pattern — normal in the morning, low mid-day, and normal at night — and then the cortisol keeps rising into the night, which is why I have trouble falling asleep. Cortisol should drop at night and should be at normal levels throughout the day. It should be highest in the morning.

Also PLEASE read [easyazon_link identifier=”0142003646″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]The Mood Cure[/easyazon_link] before taking any supplements! And better yet, work with a naturopath or a holistic doctor.

Share Your Comments Below

How about you? Have you had issues with your hormones? Please share your thoughts and experiences below.

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

330 thoughts on “Is It Wheat Belly? Or Cortisol Belly?

  1. Another data point: 43, 4 kids. Cut the grains (not just wheat), cut the dairy, kept the chocolate and caffeine. (Apparently no adrenal issues.) Lost 30 lbs in 4 months, especially belly fat. Plunged from 150 to 120. CRAZY! No outward signs of gluten intolerance I’m aware of. But grains have little to redeem them, beyond their ability to help populations thrive (probably not so great for optimal personal health). They have more problems than just the gluten content. Yes, you should read the book…! 🙂

    1. My wife and I have been long time Weston Price peeps but have not been able to lose the spare tire (I was once a personal trainer and could write a book to tell 20/30 year olds how to get ripped!). Now I am in my early 40’s and know every diet in the book. I do not want to count calories every damn meal or carry around 6 meals a day! I do not want to eat only protein and fat and wait for the dreaded rebound swelling up like a puffer fish! On a weird aligning of the stars my wife and I bought the book EveryDay Paleo and went through the recipes for 30 days along with putting the Whole 30 rules on our fridge. We were eating so much damn food, coconut oil, veggies, protein, and even sweet potatoes and fruit. my wife, who is pretty tiny to begin with, lost 12 pounds in 5 weeks. We feel amazing! The belly is flattening rapidly. We eat very nutrient dense foods and are eating more veggies than ever. We cut the wheat, legumes, dairy and all artificial sweeteners (even stevia). Please note, that during all of this we are going through the most stressful time in our lives and our cortisol is very high. I think that wheat is not the culprit so much as modern agriculture and the constant frankenstiening of all the grains to withstand the chemicals and fertilizers needed to produce larger quantities of food – we have screwed with grains and made them far different than the grains our great grandparents consumed. Anyway, If I can find a raw milk source, then I will add back some dairy to see how I handle it. We have been following the Whole 30 rules now for 8 weeks. I suggest to anyone to just try it and see how you feel.

      1. Hi, Fred,

        Maybe your comment is directed toward others. If it was directed at me, please reread my post.

        As I said, been there done that.

        To repeat: “I’m sick to death of hearing people tell me if I just ate fewer carbs and cut out grains, I’d be “lean”. Guess what, guys? Tried it; didn’t work. (And come talk to me after you’ve had a baby and you’re over 40.)”

        Many women experience this problem. Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding is very stressful on the body and our adrenal glands really take a hit. It is not always as simple as just cutting out grains and going paleo.

          1. Actually, it’s not. It goes back into the ancient world, including Egypt, Rome, and Greece. In fact the only time something other than low carb has been recommended for weight loss was in the last 35 years, and that was fueled by a handful of pseudoscience studies that got broadcast by the media. See .

            And most people who have a clinical problem processing sugars do not go low enough, because there is so much unscientific information out there about what “low” means. The best method is to go to zero for a few days to flush excess glycogen from your liver (and this is not harmful for you and will not kill you) and then slowly add carbs back in, starting with those found in vegetables. It’s very similar to the Elimination Diet, and can also uncover food sensitivities. To many “low carb” programs mean “under 100 grams” or “60 grams”, both of which are way too high. Not saying that this is what you did, but this is what far too many people do.

            So this is not a “diet”, anymore than traditional nutrition is a “diet”. It’s about finding out what levels of various things are right for your particular body. Obviously, there’s more going on for Ann Marie than carbs. I particularly appreciate knowing about coritsol, which is something I struggle with as well.

            1. Tracey R,

              You just quoted the atkins diet hahaha go zero carb for a couple days and the slowly add them back…sound familiar? I think you need to understand what this article is about.

              You can easily lose weight on a low carb diet, its called getting shredded all body builders have known this for years. Wanna see your abs? carb cycle, duh that’s what they all promote it and then do a re-feed every week. But the point is that you want to keep the weight off and obtain “optimal health”.

              At some point on your low carb diet your gunna start gaining the weight back or the weight lose is going to stop. This not your fault it’s simply your bodies defense from losing weight. At the same time because of that stress you put on your body you have a rise in cortisol ( especially with atkins because of the high protein compared to carbs) This is evident in the eskimos who aged very rapidly, proly due to harsh environment as well. Anyways the point is that with these diets you have short term gains for long term pain.

              The point is that you want to keep the cortisol low so your body will automatically stimulate weightloss and leptin will start responding properly. For most of us we don;t need to go on these extreme diets or due a butt ton of cardo but simply just eat real wholesome food and not hope to lose 10 lbs in a month. It took Years for you to get that belly it could take years for it to come off. Real healing takes time and it doesn’t happen over night. Set realisitc goals and stop looking at the scale you have know idea how much is lean mass or actual fat.

        1. I agree, cutting carbs doesn’t work for everyone! I had to go on a no grain diet for my nursing baby once and I didn’t lose any weight at all. I was eating mostly meats and veggies. My weight stayed the same and I felt like crap. If anything it stressed my body out more and made it harder on me to lose weight. I still haven’t lost the weight from that pregnancy.

  2. I just read The Mood Cure and started supplements on Sunday! So far I have already noticed a difference in my sleep and energy level. Sure would be great if I start to notice a difference in my waistline too! Keep us updated!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this information! Like you, I have had problems with belly fat since the births of my children. And even though since my son was born a year ago I have lost over 20 lbs., my belly has stayed the same. So frustrating! I am definitely going to look into this more. Thanks again! (and g’luck!)

  4. Thank you! I know a lot of people will not agree with this post but it really rung true for me. The whole no grain thing seems too fad like for me.

  5. Great post, AnnMarie! I must chime in for the people who do suffer from “wheat belly” AND adrenal malfunction…yay, me! Seriously, I have had rounds of misery with abnormal hormones (cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, etc…oh, those lovely hormones we all so desperately need!) and have used different treatments and learned much over the years. I also am grain intolerant. I know the grain-free diet seems faddish, and used as a “quick-fix weight loss protocol,” I agree it is. But, when we’re talking about gut dysbiosis, food sensitivities, intolerances to our manipulated food supply, etc…going grain-free truly is an important part of the healing process.

    Over the years, whenever I cut out wheat (and other high gluten grains), my belly would shrink. I always went back to bread, though, because … well, what can I say? I love butter and butter tastes SO GOOD on freshly baked whole grain bread. MMmmm… Ok, somebody stop me!

    Since this May, my family has been doing GAPS and we love the success we are experiencing; as difficult as it can be, it is so worthwhile. My health issues (along with my most sensitive child’s) will likely demand adherence to GAPS for a long haul. But for wellness and longevity, I’ll do it. My favorite side effect thus far: I dropped my extra 15 pounds of toxic baby weight during the GAPS Intro heavy detox phase. Hubby dropped 12. No exercise, nothing different, just Intro… I’m sure it isn’t “news,” but toxins are stored primarily in body fat. So, detox and lose fat…love it!

    In my health consultations, I do come across many people with cortisol/adrenal dysfunction. Sadly, it is an all-too-common part of our modern lifestyles (coffee, stress, etc). In addition to high fat/protein snacks before bed, and Seriphos (which i prescribe with some success), I advise people to use Ashwaganda for adrenal correction…great medicinal herb for the purpose. Also, no electronic stimulation a few hours before bed (yeah, right, I hear all the moans, including mine!! LOL). And, of course, no coffee…sorry America, but you really do need to choose…stimulant addiction or long-term functioning adrenal glands. Ack, so unpopular, that advice. There are other aspects to successfully correcting the cortisol dilemma, but I won’t give them all away here. 🙂 You beat me to the punch, but I’m going to write more about adrenal fatigue and share some remedies in future on my blog. I hope you continue to find success, good sleep, and GAPS healing!

    1. “And, of course, no coffee…sorry America, but you really do need to choose…stimulant addiction or long-term functioning adrenal glands. Ack, so unpopular, that advice.”


      And yeah, it’s unpopular advice. Every time I write a post about why caffeine is bad for you, I get tons of nasty comments.

      1. I don’t think coffee is bad for everyone. In fact, it’s probably helpful for some. It’s stood the test of time for a reason. For me, personally, it’s very bad, so I avoid it. I think it depends on your personal physiology and the state of your adrenals and blood sugar levels (for those of us prone to hypoglycemia coffee it can be an issue).

        1. Why do you say coffee might be helpful to some? I would know to learn more about this. I recently started drinking dark coffee. It is supposed to have lower amounts of caffeine and not be as acidic. I find it agrees with my digestion and I have no heartburn, etc. like I do with light roasts. I also feel like it relaxes me and energizes me at the same time. I have chronic fatigue and it almost wakes me up enough that I don’t have to stress myself out to stay awake and alert-if that makes any sense! I use coffee very sparingly but I wonder if the whole relaxing thing is in my head or if it really could be beneficial.

        2. Hmmmm…the first time I tried to write this comment, it didn’t post. Will try again; sorry if the original appears somewhere! LOL

          I just wanted to respectfully disagree with the comment regarding “It’s stood the test of time for a reason.” White sugar, tobacco and hard liquor have also “stood the test of time.” To achieve temporary personal pleasure, people are willing to put just about anything into their bodies, despite the long-term (or immediate) negative health effects.

          The fact remains that coffee’s acidic, stimulant, vasoconstrictive properties are hard on the body. No one who habitually consumes coffee can escape the long-term deleterious health effects. When we prescribe a wellness protocol for people with health problems, the first thing to go is coffee and alcohol. That alone can greatly improve the health complaints. I have never seen anyone decline when eliminating coffee…they only improve. Any short-term “benefits” people feel from regular coffee consumption will be outweighed by its long-term effects. I believe we are seeing coffee-related problems in people earlier than in previous generations…it seems our habits are catching up with us faster.

          I think people have the right to consume anything they want as long as the resulting effects don’t encroach upon the lives of others (yes, I’m a libertarian with an emphasis on natural rights and common law). But I do think people need to be willing to accept the negative effects of their choices.

          I am wary of studies saying coffee is good for us, especially when promoted by the National Coffee Association (ie Americans have a love affair with coffee and Starbucks certainly wants to keep it that way. Just my opinion…

          Edit: AnnMarie, I am embarrassed that I mis-spelled Ashwagandha in my original comment; just wanted to clear that up. 🙂 If using encapsulated herbs, I recommend people start with 200 mg/daily and work up to 600 mg/daily if needed.

          Another great adrenal support is the adaptogen Siberian Ginseng. I make an adrenal correction tincture with those herbs, ginkgo and other nourishers. Have you seen the adrenal info on Dr. Lam’s site ( Helpful stuff. Cheers!

          1. @Gabi

            I’m sorry you’re comment went into the spam folder! Glad we rescued it!

            I totally agree with you about coffee, sugar and alcohol. Coffee is a particularly touchy subject. I’ve gotten more angry comments from posts about quitting coffee than any post I’ve ever done!

            1. I have given up gluten and have seen a change in my energy, loss of brain fog, hypoglycemia has improved tremendously and I can tell when I consume something with gluten in it as I get crampy and bloated. So for me it has worked. But my weight fluctuates with my hormones and I am still working on that aspect of getting better. It makes me sad that coffee has an affect on belly fat. I like coffee but I dislike this spare tire more. So perhaps I will try backing off on the coffee and see if that makes a difference for me. Thanks for the info.

          2. Gabi – what brand of Ashwagandha do you recommend? I have tried everything for my insomnia and it still takes me hours to get to sleep at night if I don’t take a sleeping pill.

      2. I started having strong, negative reactions to caffeinated coffee a few years back, at the same time that my adrenals were clearly stressed and my gut was (and still is) very damaged. I stopped drinking it, not that I was a regular consumer anyways. People detox caffeine differently (quick or slow) and this impacts whether they feel it’s harmful or beneficial. I will very occasionally have an organic decaf and even more rarely have a little caffeinated if I need the boost to keep functioning (like after staying up all night attending a birth and still need to keep going). I don’t seem to have the same reactions to the caffeine that I used to have. At any rate, most days I drink, and prefer, roasted dandelion root. Tastes similar to coffee plus gives me the liver supporting benefits of the herb. Now chocolate is a different matter. I eat very dark chocolate and probably get as much caffeine with it as I would a cup of coffee but the stimulant properties are different. I don’t feel jittery, it just keeps me going. A very bad sign, I know 🙂 Picking up the Mood Cure later this week.

    2. By the way thanks Gabi for the suggestion of Ashwaganda — I have read about that and I think I’m going to go pick some up today. From what I have read it’s an adaptogen so it lowers cortisol when necessary and raises it when necessary.

  6. Oh Ann Marie, thank you so much for this post! I’m on week 3 without a grain of wheat and I don’t feel any different. My belly is as big as ever — no change whatsoever. Like you, I’m up night after night in the wee hours of the morning and Julia Ross’ sleep remedies did nothing for me. For me it’s typically between 2 – 3 a.m. I figured it was hormones, but I didn’t realize it was cortisol. I do know that estrogen dips to it’s lowest point in the 24 hour cycle at approximately 2 a.m., but I bet you cortisol is rushing in to “help” the situation. I’m going to check out the supplement you wrote about and I will be anxious to hear your feedback.

    1. This is why you need to have your hormones tested. See my update above. I also recommend working with a holistic doctor who understands hormones. There are all kinds of things that could be going on — not just high cortisol at night. You can order a hormone test online from ZRT Labs.

      1. Yes, yes, yes…do saliva testing thru ZRT…it is a great way to get a baseline of your hormones and understand the issues affecting your health (blood tests are never accurate). Like most Americans, you will likely have multiple hormonal imbalances. These things can be corrected, but it takes time…be patient.

  7. I wanted to add, that I have read Wheat Belly. It’s only made me more disappointed that I haven’t experienced the dramatic results that others have.

    1. Liz, I was just telling Ann Marie about you on the phone yesterday!!!! Of course I thought of our chats when she was telling me all this.

      So now she’s got my wheels turning and I’ll have to do a follow up post on my blog and see if I can’t figure out where I fall on this whole crazy debate!


      1. I ordered the supplement and I’m going to give it a try. I have also been doing a few other things in attempt to lower my stress hormones and sleep better. I’ve been practicing deep breathing twice per day and sitting by a biolight for 25 minutes each morning.

      2. Kelly- So good to see you post here. I’m more confused than EVER on the grain issue. I did lose 35 lbs in 3 mon when I went low carb, but I did not keep it off. I started eating carbs again and gained about 15 lbs back. I’m about 60 lbs overweight and I really want to figure out what the key is for my weight loss (and keep it off.) Anyway… just good to see your name, since you were excited about no-wheat and now this is saying it’s not the answer… I’m just confused.

    2. Maybe both wheat and cortisol bellies in some people? The grain carbs feed the high cortisol, correct?
      Hubby lost his belly along with 30lbs just dropping the grains out of his diet and sweets are saved as a splurge on the weekends. I lost 5lbs and kept the belly doing the very same diet, I have since put the 5lbs back on, maybe more. He has a coffee addiction, I do not drink coffee.
      I have been told (by an herbalist) that if you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep from 10:00 3:00 a.m. that it is exhausted adrenals. If you can fall asleep, but wake closer to 4:00 a.m. your liver is needing some cleansing.
      My naturopath has put me on a liver supplement and an adrenal support supplement. I dropped the adrenal supplement (bovine) after some time, but after reading this, I think I’m going to start it back up and eat something later at night. I was told a handful of almonds after 8:00P.M. would help the cortisol from shooting up. I was also told chronic stress/hard relationships/unforgiveness/etc. alone can shoot the levels up regardless of diet.
      I don’t know – big agriculture has so messed with the wheat hybridizing growing faster with more yield, maybe the problem is our modern wheat and not so much grains in general.

          1. As someone who regularly fasts and east very low carb consistently and also monitors blood sugar to see cause and effect, I have to disagree. blood sugar can’t drop dramatically if it isn’t high to begin with and skipping meals can have tremendous health benefits for some people. I’m certainly not saying that everyone should skip meals or eat low-carb, but it also won’t lead to cortisol rushes in everyone.

              1. I think what works for one person may not work for another because of individual problems or weaknesses. I have similar issues with adrenal fatigue and not being able to skip meals but I know people who very successfully do the fast-five (eat all your food within a 5 hour window each day and fast the rest of the time) or similar reduced eating schedules/intermittent fasting. Just as you realized you don’t have wheat belly, others may find that’s exactly what they have. We all have to figure out what or specific issues are and how to best address them.

                1. @Rachel J

                  They may be able to do the fast 5 now but they may not do so well on it in the future. Just because something works for a while, doesn’t mean it will continue to work. I fasted and skipped meals for like 20 years. Caffeine, cigarettes and sugar kept me going.

                  1. Just to echo the above, I do fine with skipping meals (I don’t consider it skipping meals, however – I just don’t eat unless I’m hungry) and eating low carb and have done so for 7+ years now. Tested my cortisol a few months ago (5x spit test) and it was normal. May not work for everyone, but works well for me. However, it hasn’t taken all of my excess weight off me so I agree it isn’t a weight loss miracle for all people – though I did shed all but 5-10 lbs and have kept it off.

          2. Low-carbing causes blood sugar to drop? What is that about? I haven’t heard that, so you’ve got me curious. I have read Dr. Atkins books (years ago) and don’t recall anything like that (but the opposite!). I don’t do well on low carb, b/c eventually I WILL go back to eating grains and that’s when the pounds PILE on! Urgh! I have read “The Diet Cure” – very interesting, and I was already on 2 of the aminos anyway (for something else), I got off of them when I read that you don’t need to take them forever (trying to save money), but I’m thinking about starting them again. I am over 40, no kids and have the SAME problem, AnnMarie. It is very frustrating! I tried going off grains for a bit, but noticed nothing; tried “Eat Fat Lose Fat” early this year and NOTHING (well, a bit the first 2 weeks, but then it stopped). I DO have adrenal issues, in fact am on a prescription med. for it (hydro-cort). Maybe it’s time to do the “spit-test” again…lots to think on.
            GREAT post – THANKS so much for this one!!!!

      1. No, the grain carbs do not feed the high cortisol — unless you are eating lots of white flour. I haven’t read the Wheat Belly book yet but I’m pretty sure he makes the claim that all carbs (such as white flour and whole wheat) are the same which is not true.

        Matt Stone writes:

        “Refined and unrefined carbohydrates cannot be equated. Even Gary Taubes makes this general assertion in GCBC. T.L. “Peter” Cleave, author of Diabetes, Coronary Thrombosis, and the Saccharine Disease, on which Taubes built a large part of his hypothesis, hit the nail on the head when he stated on page 15 of that book:

        “…carbohydrates should not be taken as a single group but as two very different groups; one being natural, unconcentrated carbohydrates, such as unrefined grains, potatoes, and fruits, and the other being unnatural, concentrated carbohydrates, notably refined flour and sugar.””

        Yes having trouble falling asleep and waking up in the night can be caused by exhausted adrenals. This is the early stage of adrenal fatigue. In the later stages of adrenal fatigue (and I have been there before) you can sleep like a rock all night even after a pot of coffee and you still wake up feeling totally exhuasted.

        1. white bread and whole wheat bread have the same glycemic index…..they raise blood sugar at the same rate. do you check your blood sugar throughout the day? you may be pre diabetic.

          1. @Chuck There are a lot of flaws in the glycemic index.

            I have not tested my blood sugar. There are a lot of problems with the blood glucose test as well. I’m curious to try Matt Stone’s refractometer.

        2. I just got Wheat Belly this week, am looking forward to reading it. But who has the time to read books, when there are so many comments on Cheeseslave blogposts to keep up with??!! I heard the author of Wheat Belly on Jimmy Moore and I immediately ordered the book. I thought I knew a lot about nutrition, but there was new info there for me. I’m pretty sure, based on what he said in the interview, that he does not claim that all carbs are the same. I know he addresses the effects of gluten, gliaden (sp?) and other problems specific to modern (since the 1980s) dwarf hybrid wheat (I never before realized what the significance of dwarf wheat was before hearing this podcast). His points do not mean that cortisol isn’t also a major issue for many of us. I don’t even drink coffee and I have trouble with it. I guess I’m “fortunate” that caffeine gives me blinding headaches, so it makes it easy for me to avoid it.

          It is possible that wheat is *the* key issue for some people, high cortisol is it for others, fat/carb/protein imbalance for others. It’s also true that we can often get away with more neolithic foods in our youth but they catch up with us as we age (see The Perfect Diet for details).

          I tried Julia Ross’s protocols years ago but found it hard to stick to taking so many amino acids. Also, it was prohibitively expensive for me. But I’m a big fan and her advice on adrenals etc is spot on. I had adrenal burnout twice (once after running a marathon, once after becoming a cycling fanatic for awhile). I think I will try Seriphos… and get to bed on time. Nighty-night!

  8. I agree! Cortisol is a huge issue for so many people…and wheat…well, not for as many. I have Celiac Disease & while wheat is bad for ME, I don’t think it’s the devil so many people are making it out to be lately…it’s just another fad. Do we eat far too much processed food in the US? Yes. Are most of the wheat products Americans eat going to make them feel crummier than eating whole foods (incl. whole grains)? Yes. But less processed food & less STRESS is definitely a bigger key for most people than eliminating wheat.

    1. “Do we eat far too much processed food in the US? Yes. Are most of the wheat products Americans eat going to make them feel crummier than eating whole foods (incl. whole grains)? Yes. But less processed food & less STRESS is definitely a bigger key for most people than eliminating wheat.”

      Well said!!!

      1. from personal experience, i think wheat is bad. it gives me weird symptoms i don’t get from other foods. brain fog, achy joints. it is delicious and addictive. the grain free thing may be going too far though. i love oats and do fine with them. if we were to do away with everything with phytic acid, we’d have to get rid of nuts and beans too. if you followed all the dietary advice out there, you’d end up just eating kale. sigh.

        1. @Olivia You may be allergic or intolerant to wheat, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means you may have abnormal gut flora and probably need more probiotics.

  9. I don’t have any issues waking up at night, and I’m not exhibiting any other symptoms of adrenal fatigue – but I do struggle with hypoglycemia issues, where I can get shaky and dizzy if I don’t get enough protein and fat when I eat. Does this mean I do have adrenal fatigue and should address it, or is this a natural response to low protein and/or fat?

    1. Hypoglycemia is a problem with liver congestion, the liver really is the main powerhouse for all the organ and glands, so keep it functioning well! Check out RBTI- Dr. Reams-

      1. Thank you for the information – however, I’m a bit concerned with the low fat, low protein, high-carb recommendation.

        Does anyone else have info that supports/refutes this? Any idea what WAPF says?

        1. Alexandra, I had to a 180 (ala Matt Stone) on all my long held beliefs and try this diet. I am only a month in BUT after all the torturous diets i have been on, this one, which at first makes no sense at all REALLY WORKS! Can you tell i am excited? Eating is really FUN again!

      2. Janelle, yes, I agree with you. RBTI is working wonders for me and believe me, I have tried it all including the GAPS diet! I am starting to get the energy back I used to have and it is really exciting!

        1. Alexandra, Super high fat is only going to work if you live in very cold climates.
          It is better to eat an all over equal balance of carbs, fat and protien.
          Eat the fat to satiation and no more.
          Its easily misunderstood when eating TF, that high fat is the best, when in fact its just that we need to eat higher fat then we tend to.

          Hope that makes sense!

          1. @Paula I agree. And Sally Fallon Morell says that everyone is different. Some people need more fat and some people need less. That said, MOST people need more than they are currently eating b/c low-fat diets are bad for everyone. We all need fat, but it depends on our genetics as to how much we need.

            That said, I think it’s wrong to say that everyone should be on a low-carb high-fat paleo-type diet. Many people do not do well on that diet at all. Dr. Nicholas Gonzales, NY oncologist, has found that some people do better on a diet that is closer to lacto-ovo vegetarian and others thrive on almost all meat and fat.

            1. I feel the best when I have 40% fat, 35-30% carbs, and 20-25% protein. It took a long time to finally figure out my magic numbers, and I know everyone’s different. But we’re so focused on high carb, low fat as it is, another diet touting it as helping hypoglycemia raises my eyebrow. I’d rather try GAPS first, I think.

              I’m also one who fares better on a higher proportion of meat and fat, rather than lacto-ovo. I love veggies, but even if I’m getting enough fat and protein, if I’m not getting enough meat, I can tell.

      3. @Janelle That is an interesting article.I haven’t been following all of Matt’s RBTI posts. Life has been busy lately. I’m looking forward to catching up.

        I also question that all hypoglycemics should eat a low-fat high-carb diet though.

        I am a big believer that there are different types out there. My husband thrives on a high-fat, high-protein (mostly meat and fat) diet. I thrive on more dairy, fruits and vegetables and grains. This goes along the lines of what Dr. Nicholas Gonzales teaches that there are different types of people who do well on different diets.

    2. @ Alexandra According to Julia Ross, most people don’t eat enough protein and fat. We need a minimum of 20 grams of protein at each meal, and we need to eat 3 times per day. If you eat a meal that is high in carbs without protein and fat, it doesn’t sustain you and your blood sugar can drop.

      1. Since I’ve started following WAPF/NT principles, I’ve had far less hypoglycemia issues – maybe once every 2-3 weeks or so I’ll get the shakes if I haven’t eaten properly, but it’s definitely diminished. Is this just a matter of further refining my diet (I’m not 100% there yet with WAPF/NT), or is it something I need to work on my adrenals for?

        1. @Alexandra I’m not sure but that article about RBTI says the cause of low blood sugar is impaired liver function…

          The adrenals are in overdrive as a result of low blood sugar.

          I know my low blood sugar is caused mostly by years of skipping meals, not eating enough, and drinking coffee. Also lack of sleep and overwork.

          1. Guess I’ll have to do some more research – I’m just not sure I buy into the RBTI thing. I’ll see if I can find other ways to heal my liver first. Perhaps GAPS first, then the liver?

      2. So true. I went to a screening of Farmageddon last week, with a “farm to table” dinner that turned out to be a combo of vegetarian and raw vegan. The food was delicious, but very low fat and low protein, so I ate unbelievable amounts of the (fantastic) brown rice and (memorably delicious) potatoes, in addition to the many veggie dishes. I am so used to filling up with more fat and protein, my body was craving it.

  10. My husband is recently on this wheat belly kick as well, and he is thinking we need to switch things up because I am possibly diabetic now and have the spare tire……I was also having problems sleeping, or, sleeping through the night, so I started using melatonin at night, but that only got me 2 to 3 hours solid sleep and then I was up again. I think I need to get that book on the mood……….see what that does for me

  11. If for some reason the aminos don’t help or the snack doesn’t continue to help, try acupuncture. I was having the exact same issue of waking up in the middle of the night for over a year after the birth of my son and after telling my acupuncturist, she did one treatment and that night I slept through the night. It may take a few sessions to “stick” completely, but I haven’t had any issues sleeping through the night in months.

  12. I feel like you only used parts of Matt stones blog posts that suited what you were trying to get across. A few posts back he talks about people not being able to sleep at night and what he’s learned recently about it. Which has aspects that are very contradictory to what you’ve said here.

    I’m not trying to start an argument, but being someone who reads both blogs regularly, this is just what I noticed.

    1. @Anail I was only quoting one of Matt’s posts. Not trying to prove a point; I was just ribbing Matt a little bit. He’s a big boy — he can handle it.

      I wish I had more time to read all of his posts. I have so little time these days.

      Please post the link to the article you are referencing.

  13. All this is so confusing! 🙂 But what about people like me? I haven’t had a flat belly since I was 8 and has been overweight most of my life.

    I’m sure my adrenals are messed up, as well as leptin and cortisol. And probably everything else. LOL And I wake once or twice a night, but I have a 1 year old still nursing who wakes for the “boob juice” (I do love how Matt Stone words things!). So that probably throws my hormones totally out of whack even more. I’m doing primal right now and am finally losing a little weight while eating lots of fat and protein. I feel better with no grains and am less bloated and way less cranky. I don’t know if it’s all a fad or not, but I’m gonna stick with what helps me to feel better.

    The amino acid blend I’m taking is helping a lot for the evening cravings for sweets. Haven’t had caffeine in over a year. I would LOVE to get more sleep and have no problem sleeping normally.

    I’ll try adding in a snack before bed and see if that helps with anything.

    1. As long as you’re nursing your adrenals will be more stressed. If you feel better, keep doing what you’re doing. Just make sure you are eating enough while you are nursing.

  14. Metabolic stress is absolutely one of the key factors in weight gain, as well as insomnia and a slew of other health issues. In fact, metabolic stress (which is different than psychological stress, though the two are often interlinked) can be behind food sensitivities as well, which means that wheat belly may actually be caused by a stressed system which in turn causes exaggerated reactions to wheat.

    Of course, in reality the same can be said for coffee and sugar as well. A stressed system may not be able to handle either one, but that doesn’t mean it’s the caffeine and sugar *causing* the underlying problem. A couple of years ago, my system couldn’t handle caffeine or sugar, either. I had insomnia and PMS and mood swings and all sorts of other problems, too. Now that my metabolic health has improved, caffeine causes me no problems whatsoever (I can drink 4-6 cups a day and sleep like a baby 7-9 hours straight every night). I also consume most of my carbs as sugar (milk sugar, fruit sugar and even sucrose) without negative consequences.

    I absolutely agree that correcting hormonal and metabolic imbalances is the key to improving health, not creating new tirades against single ingredients. We don’t need more dietary dogma–that only causes further stress on our systems!

    1. @Elizabeth

      I totally agree with you — I think making wheat the bad guy is just a cop out. We need to look at the whole picture.

      I’m worried about you drinking 4-6 cups of coffee a day. If you can do that and still sleep through the night, that can be a sign of advanced adrenal fatigue. In the earlier stages of adrenal fatigue as you probably know already, you have high cortisol due to the adrenals compensating… in later stages, your adrenals are too exhausted. I used to be able to drink a latte before bed and sleep all night when my adrenals were much worse.

      Coffee should hit your adrenals hard — the fact that you are not reacting could be a warning sign. Have you had your cortisol levels tested?

      1. Thanks for your concern, Ann Marie. You have some valid points. It’s definitely about knowing your body and listening to your biofeedback. I wouldn’t recommend anyone go out and start consuming a bunch of coffee! I don’t drink 4-6 cups of coffee often–usually just 1-3 cups per day. But I can drink more without negative side effects like hypoglycemia or insomnia (I used to experience both frequently–with or without caffeine). I personally show absolutely no signs of high or low cortisol or adrenaline (I know the symptoms of both very well).

        I haven’t not had my cortisol levels formally tested, but there’s a home test I’ve done: measure your basal temp upon waking and then 30 min after breakfast. If it’s high and then drops, that’s a clear sign of high cortisol (temps are supposed to go up slightly after eating as the metabolic rate increases). Higher temps in the afternoon are also a sign of high cortisol. I used to fail this test last year and I have normal readings now.

        I still have a normal reaction to caffeine, not exaggerated in either direction. Coffee picks me up a little, but I don’t need it to wake up in the morning or to feel energized during the day.

        And I definitely can’t drink coffee before bed and still go to sleep. 😉

            1. I used to have the same reaction when I first started working on my metabolic health three years ago. From my understanding, the ability to handle caffeine has a lot to do with thyroid function and liver health. Since these have been my areas of focus during the last year or so, it makes sense that I can handle caffeine better than I previously could.

  15. Be careful with Seripos. It turns on my asthma. Cortisol fights inflamation. I realize that high cortisol is bad, and I enjoyed better sleep with the Seripos, but found it affected my breathing within a few days of use.

  16. The real question is WHY is your cortisol high at night? Cortisol is our body’s stress hormone and it only goes up when we are under stress. It is not high because of a lack of Seriphos in your system; it is likely high because at night, our immune system is most active. When our immune system is in high gear, cortisol goes up. High nighttime cortisol (you should test to be sure this is really what’s going on) is a sign that the immune system is in over-drive and there may be a hidden infection. It could be a stealth virus, hidden gut infection, anemia, or any other number of things. Getting to the root cause is essential to really fix this issue.

    1. @Anne

      Sorry I didn’t get to write about that — it was edging up to 10 pm and I had to get myself and my daughter to bed.

      I believe the main reason my cortisol is high at night — I suspect — is due to hypoglycemia. I believe I have hypoglycemia because I spent many years skipping meals. Even as recently as a month ago. I would regularly skip either breakfast or lunch — pretty much every day. It is only since I started Juila’s diet that I have been VIGILANT about not skipping a single meal.

      Drinking a few glasses of wine and night and eating chips and chocolate in the evenings also caused my cortisol to shoot up at night. I did this pretty much every night (the wine at least, and often but not always the carbs or chocolate) for YEARS. This is a pattern that my body is used to and acc to Julia Ross, it can be reset by eating regularly and taking the amino acids (including the Seriphos).

      I probably have some infection in my jaw from 2 root canals and having my wisdom teeth removed. I am planning on having that addressed next year.

  17. Thank you for writing about your experiences! My own have confirmed this as well. But I call it the Stress Belly. Because without the stress (physical, emotional, mental) – it wouldn’t be there.

  18. When you wrote another blog post you mentioned that for during pregnancy Julia Ross suggests a combined amino instead. I can’t find out where she says that. Can you tell me what one you would take if you were pregnant?

      1. They called me back!! I was so suprised! LOL! She said, “Oh ye of little faith. ” haha!

        This is the one!

  19. Make sure you read the comments on Amazon before buying Seriphos. The Neesby Seriphos seems better for some people than the brand, Interplexus, that is available on Amazon. The Neesby brand doesn’t seem to be available anymore. It seems like there is some kind of legal infringement.


  21. I think that all these diets have merit for certain people. I look at my own life and my family and realize that everyone of us are very different. When I came to college, I was 6’6″ and 120 lbs. I could eat anything in any quantity. My wife was 5’2″ and at that time probably about 160lbs. She could look at food and gain weight. I exercised like crazy, doing all the outdoor adventures you can possibly imagine. She sat and crocheted. (Baby clothes, no less. Should have been a clue!) I did everything I possibly could to gain weight and couldnt. All the muscle building protein drinks – nothing but drain the wallet. I even made them with half and half. Not an ounce heavier. When I got a law enforcement job in my early 30’s, I had managed to bulk up to 140. Three months of the academy, working out in a gym all day and drinking beer in the evenings pushed me up to 180 (yes 40 lbs of mostly muscle in 3 months) It felt good. I then got a desk job and shot up to 230lbs of not so much muscle. My wife tries “radical” diets like the HCG protocol, injecting a hormone and eating 500 calories a day and she has some success with that, but yoyos. If I drop to 1500 calories a day, I drop a ton of weight. (doesnt make me popular with the wife). She can eat 500 calories a day and not even feel hungry. Shes around 230 and cant keep anything off. And it is almost all belly fat. Coincidentally so is mine. I sleep 4-5 hrs a night, work a full time job, own two businesses, run a boyscout troop, rebuilding a fixer upper house – yeah my adrenals are fried. But my wife has more of the weight issues and shes a stay at home mom (although she also runs a daycare so she does have more stress). She’s also had three children now so that hasnt helped.

    Short answer is I guess I am the one by lifestyle that should be a balloon with cortisol through the roof, but instead my wife is. I really dont think that there is a one size fits all diet. We tend to follow WP and NT diets, but nothing seems to work for my wife. I can diet and lose weight, but you dont want to be around me. My kids call it getting Hangry. Hungry and angry. Ogre dad appears – feed him and keep your distance.

    If someone has an answer I’d love to hear it, but we’ve tried most and found no success.

      1. Hey, I am IN Wasilla (well, actually I’m in Hawaii right now but I’ll be back too soon!)… would love to get together. I’m kinda more like Allen’s wife, but older and I’ve had seven kids! I lost 40 lbs last year doing HCG and put 15 back on (5 of it because I thought I could get away with eating JUNK for a single month!)
        We eat a grain-minimal traditional foods diet. Wheat in general IS bad for me, causes bloating, gas, fatigue and joint pain, although I seem to be fine with an occasional slice of Ezekiel toast.
        Getting ready to do GAPS when we return… working on hormones, waking at 4 a.m., gave up caffeine for the most part over a year ago, trying aminos, etc…

        1. Leave me a note with your contact info on my blog when you get back. i moderate comments, so it will not publish.
          I need to do GAPS too, and it would be fun to have a partner in crime to do it with, lol!

          1. Paula… I tried your link but it says you have a new address yet refuses to direct me to the new address. Hope you get this comment…

    1. You should check out 180degreehealth (Matt Stone’s) blog. There is LOTS of info there on RBTI. It has definitely helped me and MANY others!!

    2. @Allen Have you guys had your hormone tests done? I would order the full panel of hormone tests. I got mine from ZRT Labs online. I would work with a holistic doctor if you can. Also read The Mood Cure.

      It sounds like your adrenals are fried. Your wife may have issues with her thyroid (could be hypothyroid — people with low thyroid can’t lose weight no matter what) . No way to tell until you test. Julia covers all of this in her book, too.

  22. I’ve been on the amino acids for about a week now after reading The Mood Cure. It’s funny that just half an hour before I got online and read this post, I was noticing that my belly looked slightly smaller. Her All Stressed Out chapter involving cortisol made a lot of sense and I must say I’m impressed with the results so far. I will definitely add the bedtime snack in, though. I still have some middle of the night wake ups, and I usually get up and take a 5-HTP to deal with it, but maybe I can be done with that if the snack fixes it.

  23. great article! I tend to get a little suspicious when the new “bad food of the month” comes along bcs there’s usually a lot more to it. I just learned recently about how wheat, and in fact all grains used to all be naturally sprouted before industrial farming came along because they were left in the fields longer. Turns out this provides a lot more nutrients to the grains… not sure if this affects gluten though

    on the coffee front, I also heard that by adding a little sea salt (not the regular salt) to your coffee or a little reishi mushroom that it helps undo the negative impact coffee can have on your adrenals. It gets kind of interesting when you do a little bit of research…

    1. The adrenals need sea salt, it’s true.

      But nothing is going to undo the damage of coffee. Caffeine should be avoided. It’s a drug and not only does it fatigue your adrenals, it also depletes your body of serotonin (the feel good brain chemical).

  24. I’ve been trying to get rid of coffee for over a year, but I have always gone back to the joe. What has really worked for me is this dopamine supplement, which I started taking for other reasons and this has been a surprising side affect. I wake up after 8 hours of sleep naturally, alert to the point where coffee just isn’t needed. I take 4 pills throughout the day, stopping by about 5 pm, otherwise I’ll be bright eyed past midnight. Anyway, it’s fantastic stuff. I noticed these benefits after only a couple days of use.

  25. Oh. My. Gosh. This couldn’t have come at a better time! I have been trying to figure out my problem and am currently nursing my second child; I went from pregnant to nursing to pregnant to nursing without space in between to get a period. Now I’m “sick” constantly (eating a traditional foods diet) but i’m up at night, fatigued during the day, and constantly fighting what seems to be a cold. However, I do try to get a lot of good foods in and don’t skip a meal. Do you think this could be related to what you are writing about?

  26. Thank you, for a great post! I have been struggling with a poochy belly after 4 kids and gained about 10 pounds. Many bad habits have come about (loads of stress on my body with nursing, late nights, dealing with an autistic son …whew! Who wouldn’t want a glass of wine?) and your post reminds me so much of myself. I hope to have the self discipline to start making these healthier choices and, most of all, be a good example for my kids (and husband).

    God bless,

  27. Cortisol belly and wheat belly are one of the same. Stress hormones like cortisol are increased when our glucose level is raised, and being that whole wheat has a glycemic index of 72, it spike our blood glucose. Sprout it, soak it, ferment it: that doesn’t change. It isn’t friendly to our blood sugar. Like Davis says in the book, a freakin’ Snickers has a lower GI index.

    Given that most American eat wheat at all three meals and late-night snacks, the gluten-intolerance and/or celiac is on the rise. Anything we eat in excess we will become intolerant to overtime if we have a leaky gut, so rotation is key.

    I read Wheat Belly in two days, and being gluten intolerant, I couldn’t agree more. Yes, I do see it being vilified via a “wheat hunt”, but for good reason.

    The commodity crops such as wheat, corn, and soy should be avoided because of GMOs to begin with. Even the organic types are often cross-contimated in the field.

    I think the bigger issue here is the GI index of these foods. Eating two pieces of toast for breakfast will not sustain you. Eating a few pastured eggs with butter will.

    1. @Nicolette

      Regarding your claim that whole wheat is the same as white flour… the argument is based on the glycemic index. This has fundamental flaws.

      To quote a guy on an online forum (easier than typing it up):

      “The problems with the Glycemic Index are:

      -There are so many different charts that have varying values for the same foods. This may be a reflection of the control glucose source (If it was white bread, varying protein contents can affect the GI value), or test subjects.

      -The response is different in different people.

      -Most foods are eaten in combination with other foods, of which the fat, fiber, and protein content can make the values essentially meaningless.

      -All values are based on 50g of carbohydrate. Not all typical servings include 50g, such as carrots, for instance Glycemic Load, which is the product of grams of CHO and GI/100, is thus a better indication.

      The Glycemic Index is okay for getting a general idea of where carbohydrate sources rank, but as a tool that can be applied scientifically (i.e. with quantitative values predicting precise glycemic responses), it just doesn’t work.”


      Here’s something else on this point — I quoted Matt Stone (who quoted TL Cleave) in a comment above but it bears repeating:

      Matt Stone writes:

      “Refined and unrefined carbohydrates cannot be equated. Even Gary Taubes makes this general assertion in GCBC. T.L. “Peter” Cleave, author of Diabetes, Coronary Thrombosis, and the Saccharine Disease, on which Taubes built a large part of his hypothesis, hit the nail on the head when he stated on page 15 of that book:

      “…carbohydrates should not be taken as a single group but as two very different groups; one being natural, unconcentrated carbohydrates, such as unrefined grains, potatoes, and fruits, and the other being unnatural, concentrated carbohydrates, notably refined flour and sugar.””


      “Given that most American eat wheat at all three meals and late-night snacks, the gluten-intolerance and/or celiac is on the rise. Anything we eat in excess we will become intolerant to overtime if we have a leaky gut, so rotation is key.”

      I’d rephrase that as follows:

      “Given that most American eat wheat at all three meals and late-night snacks, the gluten-intolerance and/or celiac is on the rise.”

      Given that most Americans grow up on antibiotics, take birth control pills and other drugs that kill of our gut flora, gluten-intolerance and/or celiac is on the rise.”

      (There is no evidence that eating wheat daily causes gluten intolerance as many traditional cultures did eat wheat daily and they did not become celiac or gluten intolerant.)

      “Anything we eat in excess we will become intolerant to overtime if we have a leaky gut, so rotation is key.”

      Anything we eat in excess we will become intolerant to overtime if we have a leaky gut, so healing the gut is key.

      (When we heal the gut, many times we can eat those offending foods again. I am a prime example. I was gluten intolerant in my 20s. I healed my gut and now I can eat gluten with no symptoms.)

      I’m not saying you should eat two pieces of toast for breakfast — not ever! Julia Ross does not recommend that either. She recommends eating the eggs and butter AND the toast (if you can tolerate it).

          1. good for you for being objective. i will tell you i didn’t agree with 100% of the book….i have yet to find that book. one thing that became glaringly obvious is the wheat available today is VERY different than what our ancestors cultivated and ate.

      1. thanks for the reply. I really agree with your statement: Given that most Americans grow up on antibiotics, take birth control pills and other drugs that kill of our gut flora, gluten-intolerance and/or celiac is on the rise.”

        Yup. I grew up on the pink stuff. Was on the pill for years. I am in the process of healing and learning. Will check out the sources you cited.

        Once you read the book, I look forward to reading your reactions.

        1. **There is no evidence that eating wheat daily causes gluten intolerance as many traditional cultures did eat wheat daily and they did not become celiac or gluten intolerant.** {your quote}

          Yes, but the “wheat” of ancient cultures looks NOTHING like modern wheat today! Could that be the issue?

          1. I agree. Wheat used to cut and then it was left on the fields where it sprouted. Now, it’s cut and isn’t left to sprout. Plus, the wheat is probably different then it was back in the day.

  28. you describe my belly and my sleep! i’m gonna try the supplements… and take time to read and follow up on this post.

  29. This is what I have been hollering about for some time. Not on here really, but to everyone I know that is struggling like me.
    And as a word of warning. Going super low carb WILL wreak havoc on adrenals.
    And I know for a fact that many people jump on Traditional Foods and end up going very low carb out of a belief that TF is low carb.
    But its not.

  30. Very interesting…can’t wait for the follow up… I am one who has not been able to get rid of the belly fat as well…Been on gaps for the most part since March (some cheats here and there)…love the way I feel, love that I have been losing…just slowly now…

    I am also over 40, have had 4 miscarriages from 2006-2010…have felt that I have had a thyroid issue and adrenal fatigue….I know my hormones are crazy…have been charting my temp for over 1 month now…started iodine over 1 week ago, have had a 2# weight loss…still charting temp…we will see what happens…

    I have a few other things I am researching…so we will see….

    Thanks for your post, AnnMarie!

  31. THANK YOU!!!! I needed this information like none other. Both scenarios have applied to me. I maintained 130 lbs (5’5) for 10 years with basically avoiding grains. Lots of veggies, meat, real food. Two kids later, 38 yo, I cannot sleep, I have been off of all grains, dairy and soy for over 2 months. Did Intro to GAPS first month, STILL gaining weight. My naturopath says I have unregulated blood sugar, very low adrenals and a very mild case of hypothyroidism. I love my doc, on tons of supplements, and every single morsel I put into my mouth I made from Cheeseslave, Jenny M and Cara’s recipes, but I am still not getting that much better.
    Late night snack and Julia’s Mood Cure here I come. Seriously, thank you, there are so many of us struggling out here.
    And very curious about the above post that there is a reason cortisol is high….virus, infection…?

    1. Cortisol has no choice but to be high, thus unbalancing all your other hormones, when a person lowers their carb intake drastically.
      Think about this. If you eat just fats and protien for breakfast, you get a huge surge of energy.
      You immediately think, wow! this is the way to go! I am going to lose weight!
      And you do, for a few days or weeks.
      Then the energy flags and the weight stops falling off.
      All of this causes damage that takes a very long time to repair.
      And instead of “getting it”, we repeat the process over and over, furthering the damage to our endocrine system.

      Unregulated sugar is due to the fact that not enough carbs are being eaten.
      Start eating soaked rice, and try and add a good serving of taters to your meals,
      And seriously look at the supps that are mentioned in the above post.

      Matt Stone has oodles of evidence that blood sugar WILL regulate properly when a person stops eating low carb.
      The only carbs we should be eliminating form our diet is processed and refined carbs.
      Eat all natural forms to satisfaction. They have sustained people for centuries!

      I still have a long ways to go myself, but I am doing it.

      1. This is fascinating. Due to malabsorption when I drank all of that raw milk ate butter, coconut oil etc.I put on loads of fat! My nutritionist friend said, just keep drinking it. I went to a dermatologist and she looked at me and said “I’ve been looking at skin for 25 yrs and you don’t look right, what do you eat?” I told her and then she said she was pretty sure I had malabsorption which I know to be true, actually. I went on fermented foods and dropped weight quickly but then came the gnarly detox the effects of which I have been feeling for 2 weeks, like having a bad cold/flu. I have done well on rice but I used to eat too much. I still eat a small slice of gluten free rye with my eggs and bacon and lots of butter. I guess it is a matter of diagnosis. I used to tell my son when he was little “The un-aimed arrow always misses” so that’s why it’s so individual and grains are not evil but Americans use them refined and unrestrained and that is the actual problem. Thank you for posting this comment becaue It helped me to better understand the balance that each food gives to horomones etc.
        Just a little side note, I don’t regret the detox! Whenever I would get reflexology on my feet the area on the top of the foot which relates to lungs which represent grief in Chinese medicine (11 deaths in my family) it would hurt like crazy! I never seemed to get better in that area. I went in for an appt Monday and I have been coughing up stuff like mad…better “Out than in” I always say. I believe that this “Progress” was due to the detox, unplesant as it was/is.

        1. “The un-aimed arrow always misses” so that’s why it’s so individual and grains are not evil but Americans use them refined and unrestrained and that is the actual problem.

          So well said, thanks Lore!

          And better out than in is right — a great quote from Shrek!

      2. This may happen for some people, but it doesn’t happen to everyone. If it happens to you, then by all means add more starches to your diet – for me, more starches (on a regular basis, that is) means less energy, poorer sleep quality and weight gain (and as I mentioned in a previous comment, my cortisol levels tested totally normal after 7+ years eating lower carb, grain-free). Lower carb is no good for some people, very good for others. You just have to figure out what works and what doesn’t for your particular situation.

  32. This was a very interesting read. I the last “novel” that I wrote to you I mentioned “working on myself inside and out”. As you said about having previously read Julia’s book and not “getting” it in 2008, we have heard over and over about the “mind body connection” and have we “gotten” it? They are not connected, they are the same, we can’t disconnected the body parts and say, pointing to the ear, “this is my body” can we? (interestingly that principal is also found at 1 Cor, 12:19-26). My point: We need to give attention to everything about ourselves to our best and reasonable ability or we will suffer in the most obvious place, our body. That’s why “diets don’t work” but lifestyles do. I’m fascinated to hear how your new supplement goes and hope it works as well as your “betupful”. (This is a misspelled German word for night time snack that we used to ask for as kids) : )

  33. I go to a homeopath fairly regularly and when she did the scan on me she found that my lymph around my stomach was blocked. When she told me that….it ALL made sense! I had been so bloated and feeling very “fat” around my stomach. I had been drinking kombucha regularly which she said was totally helping me to detoxify except my body wasn’t able to get rid of the toxins due to the lymph being backed up in/around my gut. I started taking my remedies and got a massage (per her advise) and the next morning…. ta-da!!! I felt like a new woman! I felt like I lost a few pounds of my stomach! I have a ways to go till I will be happy with my tummy but I have also had issues with my adrenals. Thank you so much for this post! I will be trying this for sure.

  34. I have a lot of belly fat, and I know it is from stress. I had several very, very stressful years. Lots going on, pregnancies, nursing, deaths. It was a mess and my body is all out of whack now. Getting healthy again is proving to be quite a tall task for me but I’m not giving up!

  35. Ms. F-SIlva’s point is WELL taken and the bloke from AK. we all need to slow down and listen to your own body, it IS speaking to you but for various reasons most of us don’t listen. I’m not talking touchy-feely Zen here (no offense) I mean that we have a Very paced paced society and we don’t give ourselves proper attention to ourselves or generally listen to our bodies. i.e. when we’re tired and stressed, do we lay down? When we are full, do we keep eating? If that concept is too hard, go to a natruopath and get a scan like Mollyl who’s lymph was conjested around the stomah and then she had something to go on, brillant.

  36. That’s interesting. I thought you had already solved the waking up at night problem when you gave up caffeine. I, too wake up around 2-3:00 am. Sometimes I wake up 2 or 3 times and sometimes I stay awake for 1 or 2 hours, usually when something is on my mind. I’ve noticed in this past week I am getting a craving for a little chocolate at night. I’m not even hungry! I’ve wondered if I am getting enough good fat. So now I’m going to try a late night snack as you suggest and see what happens.

    I would love to go to a holistic doctor. I know there aren’t any here in this town. It’s not covered in our insurance and there’s no way we can afford it right now. It’s a shame. I wish I could find a local wapf friendly dr.

    1. It worked for a while — I was sleeping better after quitting coffee. But then it got worse again.

      I didn’t give up wine at night or carbs/chocolate at night. I also didn’t give up skipping meals. So my adrenals did not get better and I still had the low blood sugar.

      Many doctors will work over the phone. We are working with Julia Ross remotely via phone.

  37. OH MY GOSH ANN MARIE…THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!! I had to write in capitals because this post described me to a tee…except that I am only 26 and my adrenals crashed after my second daughter. Now I am pregnant again and so worried that my body will crack under the stress. Like you, I went on GAPS and still eat a very low carb diet, but can’t lose the belly fat! I also get up at three every morning and worry. It’s killing me. Please keep us updated! Also, where do you recommend doing a cortisol test?

    1. who thinks whole grains are unprocessed? has anyone read the process WAPF recommends before cooking with them? it’s quite a process.

      1. @Chuck

        Nuts, seeds and legumes also need to be properly prepared, not just grains.

        And it’s not just WAPF that says this, it’s traditional cultures throughout history.

        1. @CS

          I I know that. I didn’t know we were debating whether those were also processed. I hear the terms “unprocessed” and “whole wheat” thrown together a lot and I chuckle….that is an oxymoron.

  38. I am reading the Mood Cure right now. My husband and I both want to get started. We are already doing many of the diet parts. We need some aminos and need to cut back on coffee.
    Peanut butter and a cup or raw milk are my best friends. I have always had low blood sugar. When I eat the right diet high in protiens and fats, I do much better. I am not eating sugar right now, so when I am hungry I often grab a spoonfull of peanut butter and wash it down with raw milk.
    I am often hungry close to bed time and drinking a glass of milk or eating some yogurt soothes the hunger. I am also a good sleeper. I guess I have been listening to my body and giving it what it wants. It is nice to see that my natural practices are truly beneficial.
    I too would like to see love of the goo at the waist continue to shrink off. I will intentionally continue this night time ritual and see what happens.

    1. @Michelle I do the peanut butter and raw milk trick too! I made my own soaked peanut butter with coconut oil and it’s yummy! I love a glass of raw milk before bed.

      1. Actually you just made me realize something. Someone above posted that they thought I had solved my insomnia when I quit coffee. ANd she was right, I did.

        I think it came back this spring when I was doing 4 Hour Body!!!!!!

        I lost weight on the “slow-carb” plan this spring but it ended up giving me insomnia and screwing with my hormones and blood sugar b/c I wasn’t eating enough. Sigh…

            1. Not sure…

              What’s good about 4HB is he tells you to NEVER skip breakfast and he recommends eating lots of protein. He doesn’t recommend enough fat, but I adjusted the diet for that.

              4HB was the only thing that did help me lose 15 pounds — and I kept it off even after stopping the diet.

              I suppose I could eat nuts or beans as a late-night snack; I’d just rather drink milk.

  39. This bedtime snack bit is funny – I’ve always noticed that when I have a little snack before bed, I’ve always slept like a rock and had very vivid dreams. I don’t have any issues with insomnia or waking up, as I’ve always been a deep sleeper, but I’ve noticed the effect of a little bit of food, particularly “richer” foods like a piece of cheese, a glass of milk, etc. on my sleep and dreams. Now I know why!

    1. @Alexandra Hey thanks for posting this comment. You made me realize that I did remember a little bit of my dream last night. Julia says when you’re not sleeping you don’t dream (at least you don’t remember your dreams). I’m excited to start remembering my dreams again!

      1. I always get the craziest, most vivid dreams at Christmas time, when my margarine-loving parents indulge and cook us all fatty, rich, and delicious things.

        Also, after reading this, I am so glad I don’t like coffee! It sounds like a tough habit to break – I don’t envy any of you.

  40. Interesting post! I love the ‘Mood Cure’ it has helped me immensely! I think stress is way more of a problem than most people realize and stress management needs to become a priority for us all. I am glad you got to sleep through the night, it’s amazing what quality sleep will do for you!
    I have to mention that for me my belly didn’t go away until I got rid of gluten and most grains. I had addressed my adrenals for the most part and was sleeping well and managing my stress the best I could, but still had a gut. I think we are all different and I think we are all at different places and I think it’s good to look at a variety of things. BUT, getting adequate sleep is HUGE! so some have one and not the other – and it looks like you found what it was for you!
    I think the low carb thing may have a key point that isn’t so much against carbs overall per se (though some make it sound like wheat bashing, and I understand why) but the reality is, as you discovered it’s really that we need more protein. And in America we eat a CRAP load of carbs, and unhealthy carbs mind you. We do not need grains to survive though they have played a part in making life more easy in leaner times. I certainly appreciate being able to add ‘some’ starchier carbs that are properly prepared to my familys diet for financial reasons alone and even for the variety. However, I do not think they are optimal by any means – protein is really critical. So from a broader perspective I am not sure is about wheat bashing or low carb I think people get on certain kicks (myself included) but we need to look at the big picture – as well as the fact that some of us have ancestory that consumed more starches than others ancestry etc, so some may be more tolerable than others. Additionally, digestion is key in what foods we tolerate as you mentioned – GAPS is great because it puts all this together while cutting out the most problematic foods that our in our culture because of how they are grown and processed. Anyway, just to keep it all in perspective grains are not our enemy so much as the way things have become by modern industrial processing etc really is. Many of us do not tolerate grains well because of that fact. as well as if we put too many of them in place of more nourishing foods like fats and proteins – it’s all a balance that we have to find out for ourselves!

    1. Hi, Lydia

      You may have issues with gluten intolerance and that may be why it worked for you. If we continue eating gluten when we are intolerant, it causes stress and inflammation.

    2. I used to follow the Geno-type diet and it has quite a bit to say on Genes and being from ceratin parts of the world. Even if you never follow it, the breakdowns of which types (European, Asian etc) of people respond to certain types of food is very interesting. I keep it in mind as I am progressing through my changing wellness rountines and stratagies. Even personality types can be very enlightening on why we do things the way we do and how we can be aware of our triggers and relating to the subject of food how we can benifit from understanding some of our inherent tendancies.

  41. Best to read the book before commenting. Dr. Davis is my mother’s cardiologist. We just talked to him and he has seen dramatic changes in his heart patients. The main concern here is that the wheat we are eating today is a highly altered variety. Wheat from the past (just 40 years ago), such as einhorn is structurally different. We are looking at an increase in pre-diabetese and acid reflux and more from processed frankenfoods.

  42. WOW, this is ME exactly!!! Our little guy just turned 4, started on the WAPF a couple of years ago, cut grains completely – wake up at 3-4 a.m. (and this is with a late night high protein snack), took Seriphos, 5htp, etc. I was super thin before I got pregnant, never had a problem, and now this belly fat that keeps increasing.
    Now I am taking Isocort during the day (the NaturalThyroidAdrenals Yahoo group has been wonderful in helping) – as once your cortisol regulates during the day, it should regulate at night. Also, looking at taking other hormones that are low. I’m also doing homeopathy. It has been helping some so far, I hope it keeps improving. The night wakings are so frustrating, I completely empathize!

    1. Oh, and I recommend the saliva testing for adrenals – very helpful. After a while, the ngihttime supplements started to backfire on me (the Seriphos, L-theanine, HB, melatonin, 5htp, and I am forgetting the multiple more that I was on), as it was lowering my cortisol at night but then I was making up for it even more during the day and it just started to slowly cycle downward over a few months.

      1. I updated my post (see above) — I did do the saliva test and I agree it’s critical.

        I will look into adding Isocort or dessicated adrenals during the day — that’s a good idea!

        I think just cutting out the wine and sweets are going to do wonders for me.

  43. Quick question AnneMarie,
    Is snacking allowed between meals on the diet you are on? You said you eat 3 square meals/day. That would be so hard for me!

      1. What about tea? Gree tea is supposed to be awesome for burning belly fat, but that has caffeine. I drink several cups per day and sleep like a baby.

        1. Green tea has caffeine and should be avoided.

          Just b/c you are not waking up at night does not mean your adrenals are not being harmed my caffeine. Waking at night (night time cortisol) is early stage adrenal fatigue. In later stages of adrenal fatigue, you can drink a pot of coffee and sleep though anything.

  44. Love your spirit, Anne-Marie! And your passion to know and the knowledge you’re gaining as a result! Thank you for sharing.

  45. One more angle to consider: I was finally diagnosed by new chiropractor with rotational scoliosis (knew I had one hip 1″ higher than the other). Even after only few weeks of adjustments am feeling much better and could swear am getting slimmer. I also have gastritis and agitation (with no known cause, life is good). These conditions seem to be improving. Chiro told me that misaligned spines can cause a host of problems, even ones you wouldn’t attribute to the spine. He said gastritis and adrenal burnout are often related to misalignment. Sure wish my former chiro of 15 years had treated me appropriately years ago. But, what the heck, better late than never. Good health to all!

    1. Hi Jan. I have scoliosis and am convinced it has contributed to the hormonal (including adrenal ) issues I deal with. Sigh. It is very frustrating. I have dealt with it since age 11 and am in my 40’s – have tried all kinds of variety of treatments. There is one that I do now, but think it just allows me to maintain, not get worse.
      I am pleased for you to be improving! Thanks for your valuable input (and reminder!).

      1. I hear you AV; I am 56 and began developing scoliosis quite early (have a photo of myself at 2 years showing one hip higher than other). But, I am hopeful for improvement always. The body is quite miraculous. I am hopeful for your improvement as well. I started with my new chiro just a few weeks ago. He has asked me to commit to adjustments 4x/month for about one year. Thankfully, I have the funds to do so (although he only charges $30 per treatment–less than half former chiro). I hope to post in the future as I continue to make progress. It is nice to be slim but at this time I’m letting go of perfect pictures of thighs, tummy, etc. Just glad to be in this body and thankful for this community. Blessings to you!

  46. I could have written every single thing in your post. Four years ago, I turned 30 and had my third baby. I lost all baby weight when I was breastfeeding, but gained about 15 pounds when my daughter stopped nursing. I have never had a weight problem in my life but suddenly I have a big gut and thighs. I actually have had 3 people ask me if I am pregnant. It is so humiliating! I have always eaten very few grains. I went on GAPS for 3 months and gained weight. But my cortisol levels have been tested and they are very low mid day and very high at night. I am exhausted around 4-5:00pm and wide awake at 2-3am. I am often up really late and if I manage to get to bed, I wake up early. I’ve never been a big coffee drinker, but lately I have started drinking it a few times a week when I really need to be awake and focused. Anyway, I am really, really interested to hear more about your experiences!

  47. Word.
    50, 8 children, no wheat, spare tire. Check.
    The other big thing, too, is that if your adrenals are blown, then exercising vigorously makes the situation yet worse. So we diet and to get healthy do the latest exercise craze (P90X anyone?) and make ourselves . . . ayup, fatter.
    Plus, after doing the above for long enough, hypothyroidism is the next stop along the road.

    1. Yeah I did P90X for about 2 or 3 weeks and I was like, yeah, I”m not gonna keep doing this!

      You are so right! We Americans especially are so punitive. We push ourselves and our bodies way past the brink of exhaustion and then we wonder why we feel like total crap.

  48. Wow, waking up in the middle of the night! I did that for years, too, and my nutritional-holistic Chiropractor told me to support my gall bladder–the hours I was waking up are when the gall bladder was trying to regenerate. I HATED waking up for a couple of hours, trying to get back to sleep, and as a working class girl, I didn’t have the luxury of midday naps, but rather struggled through–DAILY–on fatigue (I also gave up coffee, but several years before my “night wakes,” as I called them, began). As soon as I began supporting my gall bladder and liver (and, consequently, the adrenals), I began sleeping through the night. Since this was first “diagnosed,” and I treated the gall bladder and liver (various supporting and cleansing supplements), my “night wakes” have all but ceased.

    However, I still have the belly, and it doesn’t have anything to do with post-childbirth, as I am 41 and have not (yet!) borne a child. I HAVE been specifically supporting my adrenals and thyroid recently, in an attempt to get all the whacky hormones to normal levels (all but one are right on target), and my sleep has drastically improved. I LOVE not being fatigued all day, every day. My nutritionist about died when I told her I was taking iodine drops (Lugols), but I absolutely noticed immediate and sustained improvement in my basal body temps as well as less fatigue and better sleeping. (Note: I’m not doing the drops anymore, but the herbs that I am now taking make up for the iodine supplementation with iodine-rich herbal supplements; this has translated to continued better sleep and even better BBT’s)

    I must concur that wheat is not the enemy. I am eating more wheat than before; however, in real-foodie fashion: it’s all freshly ground, whole wheat, and is either sprouted or soured/soaked (or both!), and I am adamant about using ancient wheats, such as kamut and spelt–none of those more recent grains that are all the rage these days. I figure, if it was good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for my family. (Reading the comments, I see I’m not the first concerned about frankengrains)

    I do believe the belly I still have is cortisol-related, but I attribute that to stress at work, and the frequent cheats at work, too (it’s a vicious cycle, really). I am learning techniques to help offset the stress, though, and between constantly tweaking the supplements (LOTS of aminos these days and supplementary B complexes!) and meditational prayer and even acupuncture, I’m starting to see some breakthrough there. Bonus: the prayers help with fighting those chocolate cravings!

    1. It’s a total vicious cycle.

      We don’t sleep at night and we’re tired and our adrenals are burned out and we drink coffee or eat chocolate which burns our adrenals out even more and we sleep even less, and so on and so on.

      Coffee also depletes GABA (the relaxation chemical in our brains) and serotonin (which converts to melatonin and helps us sleep).

  49. Hi Ann Marie,

    I loved your post as always! 🙂 How would I know how much fat or carbs I would need? Also, if I can already tolerate a lot of foods, do I really need to be on the Full GAPS diet?

    1. Read Julia Ross’s book The Mood Cure. She tells you exactly what to eat.

      If you don’t have abnormal gut flora and/or a leaky gut you don’t need to be on the GAPS diet. However if you have food allergies or other symptoms of gut dysbiosis, I’d stay on it if it were me.

    1. This post was downright fascinating. I have heard about the connection between cortisol and tummy fat, tied to stress. Lowering my stress level helped a lot with that a while back. I luckily do not have trouble sleeping in the least, but this was so informative! I remember you wrote a post a while ago about hormones and belly fat too, and that is my problem now, which I am in the process of correcting. Hormonal balance can also be linked to adrenals as well, so that is also something to think about. I just wanted you to know that I learned about Maca Root from your post about that! 😉 I had my issue diagnosed through TBA testing. I really liked this article!


  50. I’m surprised that no one has mentioned coconut oil. Or probiotics/ferments. Both of those help with detox, stress, thyroid and lots of other issues. As a post-menopausal, late-40s, two-kids-after-fertility-treatments kind of gal I was struggling too, but the twice-daily coconut oil with a cod liver oil chaser has helped so much. Slowly lost about a pound a week for the last two months, sleeping well, lots of energy, no brain fog, great skin and hair.

    1. I agree that coconut oil works great just don’t eat too much before your gut is “ready” i.e. small doses or you can get major yeast die-off. Eating in small amounts over time is great.

        1. When you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast, and you start introducing good bacteria and antibacterial foods like coconut oil, the bad bugs will die off

  51. I never sleep through the night since I had my son so I can relate. I wake up to get work done such as dishes or sewing also between 12 and 2 because I don’t have any help with him. I have been gaining weight progressively because he’s 2 and I feel like why is it so bad if im not eating the SAD? I took Gaba and it helps for sure but I feel so sleepy in the morning.

  52. I just read Matt’s Wheat Belly post and it doesn’t look like he’s read the book either. Again, I haven’t yet either, I just got it, but based on what I heard in the podcast interview with Jimmy Moore, there is a lot of food for thought there. It’s not a random selection of some grain to vilify, from what I can tell from the interview. I’ll let you know when I’ve read it!

  53. Coffee can be beneficial for “A” types (the Teacher-type) which are typically more high strung which I have seen over and over again. It’s funny that those types are typically not the coffee drinkers. There is a lot of contradictory information about caffiene too and the answer as usual is listen to your own body and be honest with yourself about the evidence! : ) Also overuse of anything, is just that, OVERuse, Be reasonable.

  54. Hi there.

    I just thought I’d pipe in briefly. I, myself, have adrenal burnout and I think this whole topic is quite confusing. I am working with a practioner in CA who specialized in it. Her name is Theresa Vernon and she practices Nutritional Balancing. I am so far really pleased in that a number of my issues are clearing up. However, it involved gentle natural detox and sometimes it isn’t fun. Anyway, if you are interested in looking into it more, here is her site:

    On a side note, I have found that just because your belly goes away, doesn’t mean that you are healthy. I was at my absolute thinnest about 2 years ago until this past year and it turns out that I was really going on a downhill spiral fast in adrenal health. I think, from talking w/ Theresa and looking at the past, that I was in protein catabolism and was barely holding onto any nutrition at all. Boy, did I feel good in my small clothes, but I was not healthy. I am healing now, and my stomach is not where I want it to be yet, but sometimes healing doesn’t feel good as the body works to get itself in a better place.

    Hope that helps someone. I have a few posts on my blog about adrenal fatigue and hope to post some more. Take care.

  55. This makes perfect sense. I have problems waking up in the middle of the night, and I also have hypoglycemia. If I don’t eat my meals on schedule, I am a bear! Which means I usually end up eating dinner rather early….by 6 pm….so no wonder my blood sugar is low through the night. I do use melatonin which helps me fall asleep, and I’m starting to drink some raw milk at bedtime. Thanks for the post.

  56. Interesting post. (And a variety of interesting comments. LOL) You’ve described me to a great degree. I’ve had hypoglycemia for years. In general, I sleep well but am always tired. My youngest is 2, and I’ve thought I was waking in the night b/c I hear her – always between 3-4 am. Usually I go right back to sleep, but sometimes not. Hmmmm . . . . I also thought this “new” extension in front was because my midsection was shot after 2 pregnancies. More hmmmm . . . .

    I’m new to the traditional foods/GAPS world, and I keep reading about adrenal fatigue. I’d never even heard of it before a few months ago, but it seems like I have a few symptoms of it. I’m working my way to GAPS intro for my children and I, but right now we’re trying to finish a house and move by the end of the month. Sound familiar? 🙂

    Thanks again for the food for thought. First, I’m going to heal my gut, then I’ll worry about weight loss. 🙂

  57. You guys gotta get a refractometer and pee on it. There’s a painfully simple way to keep your sugar from crashing in the middle of the night (having to get up and pee in the middle of the night is the first sign of this problem occurring). It doesn’t require amino acids, or protein snacks at bedtime, or any of that.

    1. OK, Matt…this sounds like me…I will have to try the refractometer. But what is the “painfully simple way” to keep your sugar from crashing in the middle of the night??

      1. I’ll order the refractometer but tell us what is the painfully simple way? I slept all night last night (8 hours, like a rock) but I did have to get up once to pee.

  58. Hi Ann Marie,

    I just want to thank you for this post. I have struggled with waking at night for almost twenty years (that is saying a lot since I am only 29). It comes and goes for me but rarely do I sleep solidly through the night for longer than a few nights at a time and then I am right back to night waking and day time sleepiness and all the struggles therein. This past week has been especially difficult, so last night, I tried eating something before bed… and it worked! I know this seems like a simplistic revelation but I was raised in home where bedtime snacking was not encouraged so eating something before sleep did not occur to me. I was not sure it was going to make much difference as I have never really done a lot of the things that would induce high cortisol levels at night… I have never drunk coffee, over-indulged in sweets or chocolate, I do not drink alcohol, have tried to keep my meal times regular and go to bed early–so why I would have rising cortisol levels at night is a little beyond me but nonetheless, I am so happy to have found this peice of the puzzle.

    Thank you again for posting this, it adds so much to my health/traditional foods journey.

  59. Wow, that just blows the “don’t eat past 7 pm” diet right out the window! I’m all about stable blood sugar levels and I never even thought of this. My husband and I will be having small protein-fat snacks before bed now, to see if it helps us sleep! Thanks!

  60. Dying to know how the seriphos went! Didn’t see an update in the comments, as promised, so would you mind? Thanks so much!!

    1. The night before last I slept except my husband woke me up twice – at midnight and 4 am. Grr! The first time b/c he was up looking for kombucha in the kitchen. The second time his CPAP machine fell off the nightstand and made a loud noise.

      So… I don’t know if I would have slept through the night. After the second time I woke up I was up till 5:30 am! I was not sleeping soundly though — b/c otherwise I would have been able to fall back asleep. But I realized I did not take enough of the Seriophos. I only took 2 — one before dinner and another at about 8 pm.

      Last night I did sleep all the way through the night. I took one Seriphos before dinner and 2 more at about 8 pm.

      I also took my usual Tryptophan and Melatonin and ate a snack and drank raw milk before bed.

        1. Last night I slept through the night. I took 4 Seriphos, plus my Tryptophan and Melatonin. And I had a snack of cheese and raw milk before bed. I went to bed at 10:30 pm and slept until 6:30 am. I did wake up once to pee but fell back to sleep almost instantly.

  61. I have had two children and my belly went back to being flat after each one–then I got the essure procedure done so we wouldn’t have any more. And then the belly fat showed up! I am 36 now and as you said, tried low carb, lots of exercise, etc. and it isn’t budging. I will need to check out The Mood Cure, maybe it can help me too!

  62. I am sooo happy to see that there are credible people out there who don’t advocate a grain-free diet. I tried it for awhile. With so many of the real food people advocating it, I thought I must be doing something terribly wrong by eating wheat and oats, even when they were properly prepared. After about three days of grain-free, I started having dizzy spells, almost to the point of blacking out. Went back on grains for awhile, then tried grain-free again. It happened again. I also felt weak and had no mental clarity. As soon as I got back to my normal morning oatmeal, I was back to my old self.

    I realize that there are people who are gluten-intolerant (I have family members who are). But I really dislike this current trend to demonize all grains.

    1. Well said, Leah! Properly prepared grains can definitely be a healthy part of a good diet if one can tolerate them. I don’t like the demonization of grains either. 🙂

      1. I’m beginnng to think the problem is with the modern wheat, even if properly prepared, so many people are having issues. Maybe others have a sensitvity to a specific grain, no matter how it is prepared. If you are feeling fine and doing well with grains, why stop them? Those having issues may want to try going off wheat for awhile to see if it helps, the other grains can follow suit. If no relief, then one knows it is another issue that may need to be addressed.
        Does anyone know if Kamut or Spelt has been messed with by big agriculture, are they considered unaltered?

        1. Dr. Davis from “Wheat Belly” did a guest post/Q & A on my blog and answered that exact question, which I’ve copied below. (

          “I was under the impression from some other WAPF blogs that spelt and kamut were more acceptable grains due to the fact that they have not been genetically modfied in any way. I personally am off all grains, but I do feed soaked spelt baked goods to my 2 year old son.”

          Dr. Davis responds: “Better . . . but not necessarily good. Spelt and kamut have the AB genomes and lack the most destructive and modern D genome characteristic of modern semi-dwarf wheat. But they still have genes that code for gliadin, gluten, lectins, and the other harmful components of wheat.”


          1. I really enjoyed the book. Dr. Davis made sense to me. There’s a lot of good science in there. His explanations of diabetes/blood sugar/insulin and pH/Acid Base balance made more sense than what I learned in nursing school. He’s completely honest when his science is anecdotal and wouldn’t stand up to peer review. I really wish before the vilification that there were a reading of the material.
            I’m seeing a lot of “diets” thrown around in these comments and a lot of supplementation. I’m just NOT a fan of supplements. And it seems like that flies in the face of a natural foods lifestyle. My goal is to engage in a diet that doesn’t require supplementation. Stumbling upon this blog, I would have imagined that the focus would be “eat healthy, whole foods until you’re satisfied.” But then I read about melatonin and this and that. That’s some fad stuff right there!
            But, Ann Marie, we share a love of the wine. lol And I’m enjoying poking around your site. I’m just a little baffled by this particular post.

            1. I can’t speak for all real foodies, but from my experience, my body NEEDS the supplements because of all the years of abuse. The real food is certainly the biggest step in the right direction, but more is needed to recover. Even if one has eaten a whole food/real food diet his or her entire life, soil depletion leaves most of it with less than optimal nutrient levels, thus giving another good reason for supplementation. My goal is to engage in the same type of diet as you, but it’s simply not enough for recovery.

  63. Thanks AnneMarie for starting this interesting discussion.

    From the comments it seems many people are equating wheat-free or grain-free with low-carb. You can be grain free without going low carb (potatoes, starches, fruits, etc…) or even be low-carb and eat some wheat or grains.

    I read Wheat Belly and highly recommend it regardless which side of the issue you are on.
    Any cardiologist – or any doctor – who is using diet to get their patients off pharmaceuticals deserves some respect.

    His book isn’t about just about “blaming bloated bellies on wheat consumption” but there are unique health issues with accumulating fat around the belly as opposed to the rest of your body, this visceral fat is a different type of fat that produces high levels of inflammation, and Dr. Davis’s approach of having his patients remove wheat from their diets is working. But he’s not getting WAPers who are soaking their grains and making sourdough bread. Going wheat-free automatically removes a ton of other harmful ingredients for those used to the typical American diet.

    I agree it’s simplistic to just blame wheat – the human body is a complex system and every individual has their own unique makeup. But there are so many practitioners working with patients directly everyday that are seeing amazing recoveries by taking wheat and dairy out of their patient’s diet. Anyone with any health issue should consider this approach – both SCD and GAPS have this part of their healing protocol.

    I don’t agree that not seeing results removing wheat and grains a for a few months means that it’s ok to add it back in, you may have to restore your adrenals or other health issues before you see the wheat-free diet working. (or maybe not – it’s really up to each person to educate themselves on their path to healing).

    Personally I’m having issues with both – my adrenals and wheat intolerance (even soaked, sprouted, fermented). But no matter what approach to eating I try (grain-free, dairy-free, low-carb, paleo, etc..) the fact is that until I can get quality sleep, I don’t think I will have perfect metabolism or healthy adrenals. There is definitely more to health than just your diet. Being a mom of 3, that’s something I can’t control, if my kids and husband sleep well I do to, but someone is always waking me up in the middle of the night, waking up too early, etc…

    I’m fortunate to have found an alternative doctor to help me with adrenal support – I’m taking Standard Process supplements for that. I get wrist pain when it get’s really bad (when I get really bad quality sleep), and I definitely have to stay off wheat for a while and be careful with even natural sugars.

    Though it’s great for us to have resources like Julia Ross’s books and others, I think it’s crucial to be extremely educated on the supplements you take, because even natural supplements can have adverse effects if you have other deficiencies you are not aware of. I know it’s not possible for everyone, but in really difficult situations it’s really best to find someone that can guide you. (Which you emphasized at the end of your post as well).

    1. Great comment, Lisa. I’m only on chapter 2 of the book so far and you’ve done a great job of correcting the impression many people seem to have that “wheat belly” is about low carb, or that it’s just some arbitrary demonization of wheat.

      I’ve suffered adrenal burnout before (did the saliva testing with Julia Ross) and it took work to recover, and I made many mistakes, but I did mostly recover. Then I hit a lot more major life stresses (financial, legal, emotional, etc) and didn’t keep up with my diet for awhile….and acquired the habit of sleeping with dogs (see my gravatar!) and that’s not good for sound sleep! My cats also wake me up, as does my snoring boyfriend… it’s an ongoing challenge. I acquired stubborn belly fat for the first time ever last winter and am also having trouble getting rid of it. I’ve been wheat-free for a week or so (and had drastically cut down for some time before that) and so far, so good. Less distended belly. I’m also making sure to eat sauerkraut with most meals, drink bone stock daily, and do all the other things I’ve learned from WAPF and real foodies like AnnMarie. I never get sick, which also means I never get a day off to rest and recover from my busy life. Weekends are for cooking and cleaning!

  64. At 43 I miscarried our 7th child. Hormonal hell followed including 30 lbs of visceral fat and general craziness. WAPF diet and GAPS diet did not help. Looking back and evaluating the past five years I have learned:
    Rest, laughter and light exercise are medicine
    Portion control and a balanced plate of nutrient dense food is essential
    Babying your filtering mechanisms pays dividends
    A good nutritional councilor and zrt labs are a road map to sanity.

  65. Two months? Two months without grains is no where near enough time for an adult to heal. And anyone with intense cravings and sleep problems definitely needs to heal. Tell me that wheat isn’t the culprit after 2 years, then I’ll listen. I love love love your blog, but I’m annoyed with this post. It is hard enough for people to do GAPS without our favorite blogs saying it’s OK to keep your grains. I’m sorry, but it’s pretty obvious that they are a problem.

    1. Hi Julie,

      There is no where in the post that Ann Marie said that people on GAPS can eat grains after only 2 months. What she meant with grains is that it can be nutritious for people who can tolerate them. Where are you getting the 2 months from?

      1. She mentions in the post; “No matter what I’ve done, I can’t seem to get rid of it. I gave up grains and starches for a couple months on the GAPS diet. Nada. I tried low carb. More than once. No change. I had success losing some weight with The 4-Hour Body (Yay! 15 pounds!). Alas, the belly fat didn’t budge.”

        1. Hi Lisa,

          She still doesn’t say that people on GAPS can eat grains after 2 months, which is what I’ve already emphasized in the previous comment. What she meant by the 2 months with GAPS was that getting off grains didn’t solve her belly issue as oppose to others who are on GAPS. It appears that she is clearly debunking the myth that wheat and other grains are unhealthy to humans, and that they may or may not be the issue for those who have underlying health issues. In her case, it is cortisol and not grains that was involved with the belly and sleep issue.

    2. @Julie Even Dr. Campbell McBride says it’s OK to eat whole grains, properly prepared, after your gut is healed.

      It did not take me 2 months to heal my gut. It took me TWO years!

  66. Lisa@realfood digest makes very solid points esp. referring to “not seeing results” in a few months. Do we really believe that a few months of diet change can undo years and years, maybe decades of “abuse/neglect” of our internal organs? not so much. p.s. food/suppliments et al. alone will not do it either. Remember that holistic referrs to “whole” person. We simply will not thrive unless we address our mind, heart and thoughts too. I am living proof, BELIEVE me.

  67. I also have the “belly” and my son is 33 years old! Eliminating wheat cured my GERD, nausea, diarrhea and arthritis, but did nothing for the belly. I know I have high cortisol at night (saliva test) and wake up faithfully around 3 AM most nights. I’ve been taking ashwagandha for months now. But I’m also still slowly losing weight on a low(ish) carb diet – down 125 pounds now and still dropping.

    Coffee? Well I gave up coffee for about 6 months at one time. Didn’t help my sleep patterns in the slightest. And I missed it. So after 6 months I went back to my one daily cup with breakfast every day. I’m not convinced coffee is “the enemy” just as I’m not convinced wheat is the enemy or carbs are the enemy. They may be for some, but I doubt they are for everyone.

  68. Hi Ann Marie,

    I had a similar experience: went low-carb to lose the baby weight, stopped snacking, did intermittent fasting, and ended up screwing up my cortisol and making my hypoglycemia worse. I would wake up in the middle of the night starving and had to get up and eat something in order to go back to sleep. I was also exhausted in the middle of the day.

    I consulted Chris Kresser, and he advised me to eat very frequently and to eat around 100 grams of starch per day — far more than I had been eating. Almost immediately I started sleeping better, and within a few months had resolved the cortisol issue and did not have to eat all the time anymore.

    However, I also gained a few pounds with the frequent eating and higher carb diet. Resolving the cortisol issue alone was not enough to make the pounds magically disappear. What has really started making a difference for me is high intensity strength training, a la Body By Science. My glucose tolerance has really increased in about 8 weeks; I have finally lost a few pounds even though I am no longer eating low carb. Plus I feel great and am sleeping even better!

    This journey to good health is a winding road and difference for each of us. Thank you for sharing yours so transparently!

  69. Have you read what Ray Peat has written about high Cortisol? He’s written a lot and goes into great depth, I know Matt Stone is a fan of his too. He also cautions against Tryptophan. May want to check that out if you haven’t yet.

    Gelatin before bed can make you sleep like a rock too, especially if you’ve been getting so much Tryptophan. Maybe a little Panna Cotta before bed? 🙂

  70. If you’re interested in a really smart review of “Wheat Belly,” I just read one by Melissa McEwen at the Hunt.Gather.Love blog; Though she is not advocating wheat consumption she is critical of Dr. Davis’s thesis.

  71. Are we such an instant-gratification society that we are willing to say that a theory is not true (Wheat Belly) because we have “tried it for a few months and it didn’t work, it’s not true”? Ask yourself this, “how long did it take to ge this belly? How many years did I abuse/neglect my insides”? and then we will have a much better idea of how long it takes to heal that damage. This is not so much a criticism of the comment as much as it is an attempt at a wake up call to our society mania for wanting everything NOW. It can take YEARS to heal and that is a fact that we don’t like to hear but it is a fact nonetheless.

  72. Uh… wow.

    Browsing over the comments…

    It’s never going to be one thing. It’s always going to be multiple things. All factors of health are important. Eat real food, avoid junk food… this is different for everyone. Quality sleep, sunlight, STRESS, play a lot, work less….

    It’s simple guys…

    1. It’s not as simple and easy as you think, Primal Toad. Many people are coming to the WAPF with real health issues that require specific treatments to overcome them. However, those factors that you’ve mentioned are definitely essential to follow no matter what.

      1. I’d be one of those vegetarians. I gave it up years ago in JH after joining PETA lol! Now I know better, but it’s very hard for me to eat meat. I’ll go buy pastured, organic meat, cook it, and just give it to my husband. Can’t do it. I thrive off milk, seafood, and my chickens eggs + lots of veggies. I’ve tried everything, can not eat nor do well on a meat diet.

        However, I wonder what it means when you fall asleep everyday at around 1, lunch or no lunch? I’ve always been this way, I get sleepy no matter what.

        1. from the Eck Institute of applied nutrition and bioenergetics, ltd.
          Dr. Paul Eck and Dr. Larry Wilson mention that vegetarianism is a symptom of adrenal burnout. I too, was once vegetarian, so I know the struggle in the mind to eat meat. I’ve been on traditional foods for at least 1 1/2 yrs.
          “as a person moves toward burnout, hydro-chloric acid production decreases and the ability to adequately digest animal protein diminishes accordingly. Meat can cause heaviness, sluggish digestion, gas and bloating in those with burnout. As the condition progresses, the same occurs with poultry and fish. Finally the individual finds himself preferring a totally vegetarian diet. The extent to which one avoids meat protein is an excellent criterion for measuring the extent of one’s burnout problem. Often, other reasons are given for the vegetarian regime, to save money and to prevent animal cruelty, etc. However, upon the careful questioning of the many vegetarians, the essential reason is they are no longer able to adequately digest meat protein. The vegetarian craze today is undoubtedly due in part to the widespread incidence of burnout. We know this to be true because as a person recovers from burnout, they require their taste for animal protein.”

          This was news to me when I was told I needed to add animal protein back in my diet. This quote is from a booklet written by dr.’s Eck and Wilson and was handed it to me after my testing came back positive for beng in adrenal burnout.

          I know some very sick vegetarians and also know of vegetarians who seem to be thriving…go figure.

          1. Wow, this is really interesting. I have never heard this explanation of Adrenal burnout, before. I had terrible depression and CFS etc. and was macrobiotic and was just listless and fried. Turns out from this info that I had fried adrenals, big time! I was in a horrid marriage that sapped me literally dry. Looking at food as a healer, it figures that soured foods are what we could call “pre-digested” (therefore they don’t tax the intestines) are so beneficial on may levels. The body is so marvelously complex and when we try and pick it apart by eating simply what we want (choc, sugar, coffee etc) instead of what it really needs to function properly we wreak havoc on the poor thing. I love the WAPF logic about this and yet one needs to have adequate data about one’s own body and condition (thanks for the link for blood tests Ann Marie) before the healing can start properly but how can you go wrong with chicken soup! I cannot tolerate the milk right now (gas) and I was not able to do GAPS intro cause of scheduling issues but I will start in the end of the month. Thanks again so much for this very interesting post.

          2. For those trying to relearn how to eat meat, it is very helpful to take betaine Hcl capsules to assist the body until it starts making enough stomach acid again. Also make sure to eat adequate sea salt, as that’s needed to make hydrochloric acid. Also, cholesterol is needed for making bile salts, if I remember correctly. I gave up vegetarianism (for me it was macrobiotics) years ago but I still take betaine Hcl when eating meat, just in case. A real turnaround for me was reading “Why Stomach Acid Is Good for You.” It greatly enlarged my understanding of digestion.

  73. I have a couple questions. What do you think of taking ginseng early in the morning. I had the same problem with sleeping and taking ginseng in the morning is really helping. If my body is prompted to produce it early, it will slowly wear out through the day. I take Siberian eluthero 2 capsules in the morning. I’m also curious about something else. I still don’t buy wheat being great for us unless of course it is soaked/sprouted properly to release the physic acid. So you said you ate it for years, except when you were healing your gut. So if it’s not bad, why would you have to heal your gut after eating it everyday your whole life, and if it’s not bad, why not eat it while healing your gut? I think the answer is that our culture is so lackIng in nutrients, vitamin rich foods, healthy gass fed animal fats, fermented foods, and enough veggies that we crave bread and sugar and have as a result ended up with major yeast overgrowth. We need to first stop feeding the yeast and work on proper gut health BEFORE we can think about eating wheat or grains again. And when we do, it should be sprouted. So im sure when I’m eating grains again they will be seriously limited because I won’t ea them unless I have time to sprout them.

    1. @Alicia Yes I have read that ginseng helps the adrenals.

      You asked “So if it’s not bad, why would you have to heal your gut after eating it everyday your whole life, and if it’s not bad, why not eat it while healing your gut?”

      People can become allergic to lots of foods that are not bad — including wheat, dairy, eggs, coconut, nuts, etc. We typically become allergic to foods we eat often (every day). Allergies are not caused by the foods themselves, but rather, by a lack of good gut flora. Good gut flora is killed by antibiotics, the birth control pill, other drugs, and chlorinated water. Sugar and starches feed the pathogenic bacteria.

      Restoring normal, balanced gut flora helps to rebuild the villi which are microscopic fingerlike protrusions that secrete enzymes. When these villi can secrete enzymes again, we can then digest our food properly. Including wheat.

      1. Ann Marie I have two questions I have been thinking about for months.

        First, My WAP natro-path taught me that calories don’t matter when it comes to weight, he recommended keeping carbs below 70. So I eat lots of fat and try to keep my carbs lower. So if this is true and it seems to fit in with Real Food ideology to me why do I still read about people eating less food in effort to lose weight? My question is what is your understanding of how calories fit in with Real Food? Should I be eating less?
        Second, a good friend of mine recently lost weight and is telling me I just need to work out harder rather than my 3 mile walk each day. I haven’t read much about exercise in your weight loss posts, what is your understanding of how this fits in? I don’t think it makes sense to work our bodies so hard because our ancestors didn’t do that, (it can cause stress too) (I am pretty active in addiction to my daily walk)

        So those questions aren’t directly related to the cortisol topic but they have been on my mind.


        P.S. I think even more annoying than being told to go low carb by real foodists is being told to go low fat by SAD Foodisists!

        Here is a little of my back ground:
        Grateful for this post, I was getting a little sick of the anti wheat stuff in the real food world. I was low carb for a year and alas my baby weight is also stuck, I’m still 10 pounds over where I was pre second baby. With my first I lost all my baby weight in about three months and then I lost an additional 5 pounds (from the healthy weight I have been at since high school) when I started eating Real Food ie, raw milk each day and more fat. Now I eat more strictly WAP than ever and I have not been able to figure out why my weight is not coming off despite eating better than I have my whole life and even being low carb for a year (starting while i was pregnant because my weight gain was getting scary) Any way I think I’ll try drinking a glass of milk before bed and see if I sleep better. I was under very intense personal stress during my last pregnancy so I have wondered if it had caused some damage that my body has not healed from. Fortunately I had a fairly good diet before WAP, no coffee or alcohol, and minimal refined foods, although I was pretty much a sugar addict.

        1. Rachael, if I may? This is coming from a former long time sugar addit: Fat (as you already know) does not make you fat but I an here to tell you, SUGAR DOES. So your little sidebar comment at the end of your post is very significant. One nutritionist told me that it takes sugar 3 weeks to get out of your system and just before the end of the 3 weeks is in sight, the body will go into withdrawl and want to feed the dying yeast and we give in and thus making the cycle start all over again and this wreaks havoc on every system in our bodies. It is a type of opiate/drug like alcohol, caffiene and other substances. When I crave sugar, I eat fat and it’s not a bad substitute. : ) On exercise, I have found over the years that it is best to do what is reasonable for you body and as you say, does not leave you exhausted and stressed. I had years of experience with eating disorders/exercise mania and exercise is helpful for your body in irreplaceable ways (nothing can be substituted for it, like sleep) but it certainly is not a CURE for weight loss , be sure to keep it in it’s place.

          1. @Lore I think this is true to an extent. Fat will make you fat if you eat too much of it. But most of us cannot eat too much fat — it makes us sick. That said, it’s easy enough to load up on the fat and continue eating a lot of carbs as we are used to and then it can be tough to lose weight.

          2. Perhaps saying I was an addict was a little too strong! But I definitely did used to crave it, I don’t even crave it any more unless I eat a lot of it due to testing too much of a desert I am making for some event or whatever. I have been trying to become aware of how much added sweeteners I have been eating in muffins pancakes and home made ice cream lately. Trying to experiment with stevia a bit more.

        2. @Rachael I’m of two minds re: the “calories don’t matter” stance. I think calories DO matter, because if we eat too much food, we gain weight. That said, there is such a thing as insulin resistance. I think this is why so many people are successful with low-carb diets. Their approach is to eat as much as they want of meat, fish and fat, and avoid sugar and starches.

          But insulin resistance is a bigger problem that needs to be resolved. Low-carb doesn’t really solve insulin resistance. I believe that we need to heal and balance our hormones. That can resolve insulin resistance and other hormonal problems that cause weight gain, such as estrogen dominance, high cortisol, and low thyroid function.

          This is why I say get a hormone panel done and then work to resolve the specific hormonal issues you have. I know from my saliva tests and from my symptoms that I have low cortisol during the day and high cortisol at night. So what I need to do (in addition to a healthy diet and other lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine, alcohol and sweets) is supplement to help lower my cortisol at night, support my adrenal glands, and balance my blood sugar.

          1. “But most of us cannot eat too much fat — it makes us sick.” Do you mean just feeling sick to your stomach after you have a little too much cream on your pancakes or something else?

            So basically, we are all so different and our bodies are all so complicated who knows why some people can’t lose weight or why they can at different times in their lives unless we do the hormone testing so we can see what is really going on?


            1. I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I was pigging out on fat instead of sugar. I mean in moderation fat is handled way better by the body than sugar. It can add (calories/nourishment) fat, yes but it doesn’t kill your adrenals et al like sugar does and I never meant to infer that we should “load up” on anything. Life is a series of choices and our emotions play a big part in our unbalanced use of food (or exercise etc) and if we are to find a better balance in our life with food we need to address emotions and also the other physical things you mentioned before, the hormones etc. In fact, I plan on getting saliva and blood tests soon, based on the reminders presented here, thanks again!

            2. On different body types I really recommend “The Genotype Diet” by Dr. D’Adamo to get an overview of these differences. I’m not saying to follow his diet but the education you get from his research is very interesting and very helpful in reducing the frustration of “it worked for her, why won’t it work for me?”

              1. What does satation/set point mean exactly? Does it mean that if you don’t absorb it then you store it or something?

                1. I have been thinking about this too. I spoke with a Bio chemist and she explained that our bodies do not ever store fat, the fat we eat is immediately used as fuel. She said our bodies only store extra carbs and my homeopath says we only need 70 grams of carbs each day and he would refer to everyone tummy as a carb belly. But as we have been discussing it isn’t always as simple as this! Any ways, I second Lore’s question, what is this satiation point?

                  1. Another fascinating tidbit, Rachael! It’s makes so much sense about carbs because the American diet is carb-centered. I feel as if I have put on fat from my fat consumption on the WAP “diet” but I hurt my back and haven’t been doing my weekly pilates and the pounds came on but I wasn’t eating many carbs. The jury is still out on that. What I found out that I was eating that was not a good thing, is nut bars! Darn enzyme-inhibitors…I thought they were fine since they were organic. Live and learn.
                    Ann Marie, how about smoked oysters? Are they ok smoked since they are not superheated? I can’t stand the idea of eating them raw.

      2. How does one know when they are healed of intolerances? I have been healing my gut of gluten and dairy intolerance and I splurged in some wheat and actually ice cream (gasp! Chick Fil A on a road trip!) recently with no bloating. Usually that would have made me bloat. I had not been off gluten and dairy very long, about 2 months and repopulating my gut with probiotics and doing other things. I am just wondering if you just add things back in and see if you are having a reaction? And if not, then you are healed? I am going to a naturopath but I am curious about your take. You say it took 2 years to heal your gut. How did you know that you were not healed before then? B/c you tried to add things back in and had a reaction? Sorry for all the questions – totally curious b/c I want to know when I can be sure am healed and not do more damage by introducing foods. Thanks for your time!


        1. Hi, Nickole

          It really depends on the person.

          For me, I went by symptoms. However, some people are asymptomatic. I have a friend who has Hashimotos and he is asymptomatic but he has returned his thyroid to normal functioning by avoiding gluten.

          So maybe it’s best to also have a hormone panel done.

          Also, kinesiology (muscle testing) is a great way to test how you react to foods — at least it has been very accurate for me.

  74. I keep coming back and reading the comments, I can’t help myself, LOL…this is such an important issue. Some really good questions are being asked and good points being made. Someone asked, “How do we get this cortisol problem to begin with?” (paraphrase, sorry)

    Our endocrine system is vastly complex and no one understands completely how it works. Hormones are one of the most important aspects to wellness and one of the first bodily systems to go wonky. The human body has a vast array of hormones and endocrine glands that need to work in harmony, unmolested, to allow us to thrive. The adrenal malfunction issue…along with other hormonal dysfunctions…is multi-faceted. It is impossible to “target” one or two hormones for “fixing” and see complete healing…the hormone cascade is a complicated dance.

    At the risk of oversimplifying the issue, I just want to highlight some important aspects to understanding the endocrine system…

    The liver is an organ and a gland, and is one of the keys to endocrine success vs. failure. We need to regenerate and support our livers if we want any of our hormones to work well. There are many ways to do this, and detoxing is key…juicing with beets is excellent for liver cleansing. Liver supportive herbs/foods abound. Healing protocols (like GAPS) will improve liver function. Drinking the right amount of water (it’s more than you might think) and consuming high-mineral real salt is important, too (for overall wellness, not just liver health).

    Cholesterol is the “mother hormone” that helps to make all other hormones. Our bodies (it doesn’t matter what “type” you are) NEED saturated fat…clean, pure, real food saturated fat. Our culture has been fat deficient for decades…and the timing corresponds to our rise in hormonal malfunctions. People on cholesterol-lowering drugs end up with endocrine and brain malfunctions. Fat, fat, fat…we seriously need fat (not franken-fat…only the good stuff: coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil, grass-fed animal fats…). Our brains need it, our endocrine system needs it, our hearts need it, our joints need it…on and on and on…we really, truly need fat. Our cultural fat fear is destroying our health! (I can attest that my brief 3-year stint into veganism destroyed my hormones…and I have the ZRT labs to prove it…that was a hard time for my family as my body and mind nearly imploded.)

    Our endocrine system becomes damaged from the time most of us are born…the assaults on our body beginning at a young age (and even in the womb…mom’s hormones, stress and diet affect baby) affect our endocrine system: vaccines, antibiotics and other drugs, the typical health-depleting American diet (with its lack of good fats and real food), electronic overstimulation, pollution, and stress. Yes, younger and younger, we are adding emotional stress to children’s lives (the joke of the dysfunctional families we all come from isn’t really that funny, eh?). Then we get older and we assault ourselves more…most people begin a coffee habit, then some amount/type of regular alcohol, more pharmaceuticals and birth control drugs for the ladies (that alone will send your hormones into years of havoc). And let’s not forget the environmental toxins we live with, which bombard our endocrine systems…the world of plastics and petro-chemicals are enemies to our hormones.

    Yes, our food system is sadly adulterated, manipulated and deleterious to our health and hormonal production…and it’s not only grains. We need to learn food, pursue real food, prepare real food; this real food movement is an important platform for food/health sanity. Yes, Americans are riddled with gut dysbiosis (GAPS for everyone!! :)). Yes, we eat/live in a way that damages our hormonal systems and sets us up for system failure. And no, there is no “magic bullet” easy fix. But becoming aware of the issue, of how our bodies work, and how we need to live and eat to heal …not to mention setting up our children for success… is a great life journey.

    We want to solve the problems we feel immediately, like cortisol imbalances, but we also need to be aware of how the entire endocrine system is working/not working. We may not find success targeting one malfunction (ie adrenals) until we look at the whole system. Having said that, I do think using real foods and real medicine (whole herbs) are a great way to help us achieve relief and long-term healing for whatever systems are out of whack. Ashwagandha is a great herb for adrenals, as is Siberian Ginseng (another adaptogen) and Ginkgo. There is good adrenal info at

    OK, long enough, sorry! Just wanted to serve up some endocrine “food for thought.” And I also wanted to add one follow-up comment to something mentioned above…not to beat a dead horse, as they say, but here it is…

    Someone commented on my original comment regarding coffee, saying, “I don’t think coffee is bad for everyone. In fact, it’s probably helpful for some. It’s stood the test of time for a reason.”

    I disagree with the “It’s stood the test of time for a reason” logic. White sugar, hard liquor and tobacco have also culturally “stood the test of time.” To achieve temporary pleasure of some sort, people will put all sorts of things in their bodies.

    The fact remains that the acidic, vasoconstrictive, stimulant, etc. properties of coffee are hard on the body. No one who habitually consumes coffee will escape its long-term deleterious effects. When we initiate a healing protocol, the first things to go are alcohol and caffeine…this alone can make vast improvements in the health complaints. I have never seen anyone decline after eliminating coffee…they always improve to some degree.

    I’m wary of studies that show “benefits” of coffee drinking, especially when promoted by the National Coffee Association. Americans have a love affair with coffee and Starbucks certainly doesn’t want that to diminish. Just my opinion…

    Well, enough is enough, right? Thanks for letting me share… 🙂

    1. Gabi,
      Thank you for this informative post, I will be keeping it for future reference. You and I have similar veiws on healing and that the word “fixing” is not the best term to use when looking at holistic health. This is a process that goes on throughout our lives and ebbs and flows with varying factors in our lives and needs to be approached though many different angles.

      I must say that this statement is one that I can’t agree with:

      “I’m wary of studies that show “benefits” of coffee drinking, especially when promoted by the National Coffee Association. Americans have a love affair with coffee and Starbucks certainly doesn’t want that to diminish. Just my opinion…”

      Type “A” blood types/teacher type (my son) do seem to benefit from modest amounts of coffee as they seem to have a counter effect on their inherient nervous energy. (Geno-type diet, DR. D’Adamo). The added factors of sugar in the coffee makes it all the worse for those of us that get the shakes from coffee, as I do. Please do not think that I am promoting it’s use but I do know that coffee (like wheat) is not an evil in itself. As you know, one size does not fit all when it comes to what works for one will work for another. I’m sure that you agree with that and I believe that you are talking about an OBSESSION with coffee which sends many into adrenal failure since they are effectively using it as a drug. As we have been discussing in this post, an obsession (by nature of the word) is a negative thing be it fat, sugar, carbs, exercise or coffee et al. Moderation, please…
      I’d like to know where you get your information, is it based on some research that you have done or is this your line of work? You sound like a bit of an authority on it so It got me curious because I want to make sure it’s accurate before I repeat it.. I’m always very interested in understanding these complex health topics and passing them on to the benefit of my dear friends and family.

      1. Thanks for your comments, Lore, I appreciate hearing what you have to share. I think we agree that the coffee “habit” and “obsession” is damaging. I think popular commercial coffee really has gone the way of all other processed foods…hence, my frustration with the McDonald’s of coffee, Starbucks…but that’s a different rant for another day! LOL 🙂
        Re: sources of my info, it is both … I am trying to share as much as I can online via my relatively new blog, but it is hard to keep up. Kudos to AnnMarie and other crusaders who put fresh content out regularly! If you do check in with my blog occasionally in future, you’ll find upcoming articles on various healing/wellness topics. I do plan to do a series on the hormone puzzle. “Ebb and flow,” as you said, is a great term to describe our healing journeys. Cheers!

        1. Yes, commercial anything has got to be the worst since it is generally feuled by greed/profits and not the nourishment of the masses. I got some organic espresso from my local “Fresh and Easy” store and I could not believe how good it was! I drink coffee about 6 times a year but when I do I like it to be this brand and with a delicious gluten free dessert and fresh cream, yummy!
          I didn’t realize that you have a bolg, I’ll click on your name and check it out. It’s lovely to meet you! Yes Ann Marie is our collective “darling of the blog-waves”!

        2. I forgot that I have seen your site…(I found myself wishing you would change the font it is hard to read with that color thrown in…come to think of it maybe it’s my nearly 50 year old eyes!) My friend just told me about th “Kale popcorn, I’m so glad to see that you shared this recipe, I’m looking forward to trying it. thank you for your sharing. I will look in our your site often. Is there a place to reply to your posts, or?

          1. I am working on that font…I’m just so inept with the technical aspects of the computer/internet world, LOL. Sorry it’s hard to read! I’ll keep working on that. I actually don’t have comments enabled on my site currently b/c I don’t have time to reply to them; I regret it, but my lifestyle doesn’t allow it right now. I would want to personally reply to every single comment and take on every question as a new consultation, but that would be madness right now. LOL 🙂 My original goal was not a blog, but just a typical “resource” web site. The blog forum has become so popular and the free blogging platforms make it so easy to set up a site, so I went with it. I am cogitating on how to open communications in future along with selling my herbal remedies. Thanks for asking!

  75. Really love this post! I am struggling with the sleep issues to the extreme right now. I’m in my first trimester of baby #3 and I don’t know that I’ve ever had as horrible insomnia as I’ve been having over the last month. I know I’m hypoglycemic and have seen all the same signs that you have (I’ve struggled with it for years). I’ve been working very hard to cut out refined sugars/carbs at night. So sad… tear… I have always loved having a sweet snack at night after the kids go to bed. It was my treat for the day to say “I’m done and now I can just sit back for a while.” Before the kids and nursing wine was often my evening treat and I used to drink a lot of it. I loved it and actually having to stop when I was pregnant with my first turned out to be much harder to do than I would have thought.

    This pregnancies has thrown my sugar levels for a loop. I basically can’t eat hardly anything sweet, except a little bit of honey in fresh milk kefir or oatmeal, otherwise it pretty much doesn’t sound good. I’ve been eating a lot more protein, although I’m always a huge protein eater, but still really suffering, whether from dead tiredness or nausea and then the insomnia.

    So my question is, is the secret with this the fat?

    With us just moving (and probably going through one of the most stressful time of my life in a long, long time) I ended up running out of all of my coconut oil, CLO and haven’t had access to any REAL butter or cream for that matter, have been drinking plenty of fresh milk. I have also been getting store bought, grass-fed butter when I can. I am placing orders this week for everything, so will hopefully have things back on the shelf next week. I’ve also tried eating hard boiled eggs before bed, but they haven’t helped, now cheese has some of the time.

    By the way, also really, really, really appreciate your comments on wheat. I too am very tired of hearing all the anti-wheat stuff. It seems to me that the public always wants to jump on a bandwagon of some sort and frankly as soon as main stream medicine is completely anti something, it’s a sign to me that things might not be correct. My son and I have shown wheat intolerance and allergies, however, I do truly believe that can be corrected by healing the gut, just to actually do it! We are working hard on this issue with my son because during our move he ate a lot of refined flour and got eczema on his face and ears and wined about his legs hurting (joints) a lot. He’s doing better now, but I truly believe once we get his system in balance again he’ll be fine to eat wheat. It will just take time.

    1. Hi, Therese

      I can so relate with the wine and sweets. Since you are pregnant, it’s especially important for you to eat A LOT. That was the only thing that helped me through my last pregnancy (and I put on a lot of weight — but that was b/c I was not eating nutrient-dense foods — I did not know about WAPF).

      When pregnant, you can’t do single amino acids (it is not recommended) but Julia Ross recommends a blend — Total Amino Solution.

      Sorry but what is your question exactly about fat? I’m not sure I understand. Are you asking if fat helps with the hypoglycemia etc.?

      Read my latest post if you haven’t already

      I’ll also be posting soon about magnesium deficiency and will include info in that post about pregnancy and magnesium.

      And I agree with you about wheat. I don’t think it’s the wheat that is the problem. I think it’s the fact that most Americans eat wheat 2-3 times per day (minimum) and so it is something we are exposed to frequently. Same reason we also commonly become allergic to dairy, soy and nuts. Lots of exposure. I don’t believe the foods are bad, or inherently allergenic. I believe it is the way the foods are processed AND our damaged guts (due to antibiotics, birth control pills, chlorinated water, etc.) that are the root of the problem.

      1. Yes, my question did have to do with fat in relations to hypoglycemia or more importantly with insomnia (cortisol issues?). I’ve tried doing more protein at night, but that hasn’t seemed to make a difference. So I’m wondering if the fat part is just as crucial as the protein part?

        I did try eating two hard boiled eggs last night before bed with a piece of toast that had a very generous tbsp. of butter on it. I slept better, not great, but better. At this point I’ll take whatever sleep I can get. Not sleeping and being exhausted all day with two toddlers at home is not a good combination. 🙂

        After reading what you have written (including your latest post) I started doing more research on magnesium too and I certainly think my whole family is likely deficient. It’s hard to get enough magnesium, especial with the kids. Going to re-evaluate menu plans in our home and see how I can’t start making more meals that would include magnesium rich foods. Perhaps spinach in kefir smoothies… 🙂

        Thank you for taking the time to reply and thank you for the links. Look forward to see what else you have to share on this subject.

        1. I went to see my nutritionist friend who eats WAPF and he gave me 2 suppliments today after I told him about my difficult flu-like detox. He did say, “don’t stop eating good fats, thay are what carry away the bad fats. Also do whole-body exercises (not isolated) an take these 2 pills because they will help your absoption and liver detox”. One is called “TMG” and is by Jarrow. I got it at his store for $18 and the link here is for half that cost ( site:
          The other one, called AllerDx by Plantiva
          is for allergies (inflammation) is also suppossed to be great for absorption and is very calming to the gut and overall so I wonder if it would also work for sleep issues. I am very sensitive so I began today taking the TMG once (w food) in the AM and the other I will be taking one (food or no food is fine) before bed. I’ll give an update when I’m back at the end of the month. I’m hoping that it will be helpful for lots of things. I’m feeling pretty mellow after taking the TMG an hour ago so I might have to end up taking them both at night or cutting one in half.

        2. @Therese

          I tried the magnesium oil yesterday and it worked great. I slept all night — except for when Kate fell out of bed. But I went right back to sleep (within 10 minutes) after I woke up. I’m taking a combination of magnesium supplements today, including Total Mins (a mineral supplement recommended by Julia Ross that contains 500 mg magnesium) plus the magnesium oil and some ionic magnesium drops.

          I’m aiming for around 800 mg of magnesium. You’re supposed to take it in divided doses throughout the day.

          Please be careful of green smoothies. They have a lot of anti-nutrients if the spinach is not cooked so you end up losing a lot of nutrients that way.

          1. Yep it was my plan to cook or lightly steam the spinach first. I had read a while back that that is one vegetable that it’s always wise to eat cooked instead of raw.

            I’m going to have to look further into Julia Ross. I am taking a magnesium supplement, but not sure if it’s the best type. More research to do… isn’t that always the case! 🙂 I’ve been doing about 400 mg, but should likely up it, especially since I know I’m depleted. Now to just get the magnesium in my kids. That’s much harder, especially at 18 months and 4 years old.

            1. @Therese Hmm yeah if you’re pregnant, you might want to take more.

              They say on the WAPF site to take “3 to 10 milligrams per pound of body weight, depending upon physical condition, requirements for growth (as in children), and degree of symptoms.”

              I’m somewhere between 140-145 so I’m aiming for about 800 mg per day to start. That’s about 5.5 mg per pound.

              Epsom salt baths and magnesium oil are good ways to supplement transdermally.

            1. For myself, I’m just started with the standard amount. A good article to check out about magnesium, or at least a starting place, is

              1. I’ve been confused about the need to supplement mag. since some testing a couple of years ago. I have heard Carolyn in an interveiw, but did not get her book. my naturopath suggested a hair (tisssue/mineral) analysis and an Organix Comprehensive Profile by Metametrix. I was high in the Quinolinate which she said means I need to supplement with Magnesium, which I was already doing. She even mentioned to start epsom salts baths along with the mag. supplement. Shortly after this the hair analysis came back and showed my Mag/Cal levels pretty high.
                She then suggested to stop supplementing altogether. As I told her, this
                doesn’t make sense to me why one test would suggest I need to supplement and the other reporting that I should not. She really didn’t have an explanation other than to stop supplementing. I did color (natural herbal) my hair and wondered if that may be an issue in the readings. This test showed that I am very low on the rest of the
                so, I went off the magesium, but with questions unanswered and not totally convinced this is what I needed to do. I have since felt the need to supplement again, without consulting the naturopath. I’m using Natural Calm, but have read the gel is much better asorbed, which brand are you using?

                1. I’m sure Ann-Marie will know more about your particular situation, Libby, but I just wanted to say that I believe if you FEEL to supplement with something, then you absolutely should! That is your body nudging you toward what it needs. I take 750-1000mg of magnesium a day (my chiropractor has all his patients take 1000mg – I just can’t take that much EVERY day without getting diarrhea), and I really don’t think you are going to do any harm to your body by taking at least 400mg a day, considering your body seems to be asking for it. We have to learn to trust our bodies and impulses more – sometimes they are more accurate than any test! : ) (For example, if I dream of eating a food, I will always make an effort to eat that food in the coming days, as I know that food contains something that my body need. I usually dream of eating greens!! It’s such a nice way of my body letting me know when I need them!) Good luck to you, Libby! : )

  76. Wow, you must have really struck a nerve with this post. I enjoyed it; it’s nice to see someone sticking up for wheat. When I’m hungry before going to bed or when I wake up in the middle of the night, I just drink a glass of milk. When I was pregnant, I’d find myself doing it nearly every night. I figured that the baby needed a “nighttime feeding” 😉

  77. I’ve been reading thru the post and comments (haven’t finished either one) and am very intrigued by all the various approaches/aspects/cures/causes, etc. I too have adrenal fatigue and can’t drop the belly fat no matter what! Having been thin/athletic all my life, this is troublesome! I don’t believe in eliminating naturally occurring whole foods, so have not tried grain free, but know of people that are doing well with it. I agree that it might just be short term, but who knows?

    I want to ask a question and then get back to reading the post and comments, and other posts related to this. I’ve been adding raw cacao powder to my morning smoothie and making coconut bark with it. When you say chocolate is bad for adrenal recovery, is that referring to alkaline processed milk (or dark) chocolate bars, or any cacao in general? Just curious, since it’s one of the top super foods around.

      1. That’s what I thought too, but according to David Wolfe’s book, Superfoods, it has at most, 1/20th the amount of caffeine that a single cup of coffee has. I understand that any can be bad for adrenal fatigue, but as I re-read the chapter on raw cacao, it sounds as though it will actually help heal. I thought there’d be a small reference I could quote here, but there are nearly 8 pages of nutritional benefits related to raw cacao. It has magnesium, tryptophan and a long list of other benefits to produce a calming effect on a brain wrought with “over thinking”, which I’m definately guilty of!

        I’m seeing a naturopath for the first time Monday and will ask her opinion too. Thank you for taking the time to answer!

        1. I would never call chocolate a super food — even raw cacao.

          There are a bunch of other issues with chocolate including phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, etc.

          If you want to eat chocolate, go ahead but I wouldn’t try to pretend that it is healthy.

          Also, craving chocolate can be a sign of magnesium deficiency.

          1. That was an interesting read. I can see where calling raw cacao a superfood could be questionable, but the closing paragraph of the story could have been talking about wheat as much as it was talking about cacao. Just thought that was amusing, since your post here is defending wheat.

            I did ask my naturopath about it and she said I should keep using it. She feels the antioxidants are reason enough to eat it.

            1. Yes but I am only defending sprouted and soaked wheat, not unsoaked/unsprouted whole wheat.

              The problem with the theory that there are antioxidants in chocolate is that when they process the cacao, the antioxidants are reduced.

              “…there is the issue that the antioxidant levels in cacao are reduced substantially during the processing that makes it taste good (i.e. raw unfermented cacao tastes quite bitter, astringent, and un-chocolate-like). Cacao is one of the few foods in the world that is both fermented (and then dried) and roasted, and the fermentation and drying–and according to some researchers, roasting too–lead to a substantially reduced amount of antioxidants in the cacao itself. This means that unless you are willing to forgo the reason that people like chocolate in the first place–it tastes amazing–and essentially turn it into a bitter health tonic, then chocolate will always have reduced antioxidant levels when compared to raw, unfermented cacao. That said, if you want to choose bars that may–and that is a big, big, maybe–have higher antioxidant levels, then you will probably be best off choosing the worst tasting, most bitter and astringent dark chocolate that you can find. If this doesn’t sound appealing, then simply take solace in the fact that the best tasting dark chocolates will still have higher antioxidant levels than most other foods, and when you combine that with the beauty of its flavor, it can’t be beat.”



              The problem with bitter-tasting untreated cacao (besides the nasty taste) is that it will be super high in phytic acid.

              For antioxidants, you’re better off eating fresh fruits and vegetables and fermented foods like sauerkraut.

              Personally, when I want some chocolate, I just make some chocolate chip cookies or chocolate ice cream. I’m not eating it for the health benefits, but rather because it tastes good. But it’s not something I do every day.

              It seems to me there is no winning with chocolate. It should be an occasional treat, but it is not a health food.

              1. It sounds as though maybe you think I’m eating chocolate bars and calling it healthy. I’m adding raw cacao powder to my smoothie in the morning. It is the bitter stuff.

                I’m not trying to argue or convince you, just thought I’d share what my naturopathic doctor had to say about it.

                  1. I appreciate your input and perspective and thank you for caring enough to continue sharing. This grain debate (regardless of the source of grain) is frustrating, to say the least!

                    I just checked out The Mood Cure from my library last night. I had to have it sent from another town, but I like what I’ve read so far, glad to know of its existence! Headed to read more of your experience with its recommendations.

  78. I’m really late getting to this post but THANK YOU for posting it!! I, too, am tired of all the wheat-bashing, and it’s nice to hear a real-food blogger talk about alternative solutions to some of the problems wheat is blamed for. My naturopath gave me the same advice you talked about – eating protein right before bed. My cortisol levels are off because of adrenal issues, but for some reason the cortisol supplement she had me try didn’t do anything.. maybe I should try the one you suggested. I have been slowly but surely doing better at not waking up so frequently, but I still wake up crazy tired unless I’m able to sleep until about 8:30am (which almost never happens). I, too, have tried no-grain diets to no avail (I don’t have weight problems – I’m still in my 20’s… but I most certainly have adrenal issues). I’ve recently started making sourdough baked goods and definitely notice a difference in how much better I’m digesting the food, and it makes me fuller faster. So I’m going to stick with that, since it works, and hubby is thrilled to have bread products again! Anyway, this was a little scatter-brained – but thank you for a different view-point!! Much appreciated!

    1. I’ve been sleeping through the night now — a full 8 hours. I’m still taking 4-5 Tryptophan capsules per day, plus 2-3 melatonin, the Seriphos, and now I’m taking 800-1000 mg magnesium per day. The magnesium made a huge difference — I think magnesium deficiency was the biggest problem. More coming in a post tomorrow or the next day!

  79. This is taken from Dr. Mercola’s website:

    Just in case you were interested…

    “Why Even Whole, Sprouted Wheat is a Problem

    “I recommend that everyone following my beginner nutrition plan eliminate all gluten from their diets, whether or not they have celiac disease or ADHD, because many experience health improvements upon doing so. Among the most important foods to avoid are those gluten-containing grains that contain gliadin molecules, such as wheat.

    “When gliadin in gluten becomes water soluble, it is free to bind to cells in your body. If you are sensitive, your body will make antibodies to gliadin and attack the cells gliadin has attached itself to, treating those cells as an infection. This immune response damages surrounding tissue and has the potential to set off, or exacerbate, many other health problems throughout your body, which is why gluten can have such a devastating effect on your overall health.

    “Wheat also contains high amounts of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), a glycoprotein classified as a lectin, which is largely responsible for many of wheat’s ill effects. Other grains high in lectins include rice, spelt, and rye. Interestingly enough, the highest amounts of WGA is found in whole wheat, including its sprouted form, which is touted as being the most healthful form of all.

    “Lectins are actually designed to withstand degradation through a wide range of pH and temperatures, which is why sprouting, fermenting and cooking will NOT negate its ill effects. WGA lectin is particularly tough because it’s actually formed by the same disulfide bonds that give strength and resilience to vulcanized rubber and human hair.

    “Furthermore, because lectins are so small and hard to digest, they tend to bioaccumulate in your body, where they can interfere with biological processes. WGA is particularly troublesome in this regard. Studies indicate it has a number of health-harming characteristics and activities:

    “Pro-inflammatory–WGA stimulates the synthesis of pro-inflammatory chemical messengers (cytokines) in intestinal and immune cells, and has been shown to play a causative role in chronic thin gut inflammation.
    Immunotoxicity–WGA induces thymus atrophy in rats , and anti-WGA antibodies in human blood have been shown to cross-react with other proteins, indicating that they may contribute to autoimmunity. In fact, WGA appears to play a role in celiac disease (CD) that is entirely distinct from that of gluten, due to significantly higher levels of IgG and IgA antibodies against WGA found in patients with CD, when compared with patients with other intestinal disorders.
    Neurotoxicity– WGA can cross your blood-brain barrier through a process called “adsorptive endocytosis,” pulling other substances with it. WGA may attach to your myelin sheath and is capable of inhibiting nerve growth factor, which is important for the growth, maintenance, and survival of certain target neurons.
    Excitotoxicity– Wheat, dairy, and soy contain exceptionally high levels of glutamic and aspartic acid, which makes them all potentially excitotoxic. Excitotoxicity is a pathological process where glutamic and aspartic acid cause an over-activation of your nerve cell receptors, which can lead to calcium-induced nerve and brain injury. These two amino acids may contribute to neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, and other nervous system disorders such as epilepsy, ADD/ADHD and migraines.
    Cytotoxicity—WGA has been demonstrated to be cytotoxic to both normal and cancerous cell lines, capable of inducing either cell cycle arrest or programmed cell death (apoptosis).
    Disrupts Endocrine Function—WGA may contribute to weight gain, insulin resistance, and leptin resistance by blocking the leptin receptor in your hypothalamus. It also binds to both benign and malignant thyroid nodules, and interferes with the production of secretin from your pancreas, which can lead to digestive problems and pancreatic hypertrophy.
    Cardiotoxicity—WGA has a potent, disruptive effect on platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1, which plays a key role in tissue regeneration and safely removing neutrophils from your blood vessels.
    Adversely effects gastrointestinal function by causing increased shedding of the intestinal brush border membrane, reducing the surface area, and accelerating cell loss and shortening of villi. It also causes cytoskeleton degradation in intestinal cells, contributing to cell death and increased turnover, and decreases levels of heat shock proteins in gut epithelial cells, leaving them more vulnerable to damage.”

  80. Ha, so no kidding, I was reading this while I was eating a carb snack (wheat crackers) at 5:45pm because I got all shaky and ca-razy. I’ve been reading the mood cure, and I started on the 5-htp (I’m doing one per week or so, I’m afraid my body would over-react to more than one at a time), and I inadvertently slept in until 11am (I actually slept through the night and then some!), but skipped breakfast…so had a hearty lunch at noon, and then 5pm, wham-o! So I grab a snack while I stare vacantly into my kitchen to figure out what to make, and then I decide to hop on your blog and search for mood cure and read this, and I was laughing the whole way through. Glad you’re a few steps ahead of the journey I am now taking!!! Thank you thank you thank you!

  81. Ha, so no kidding, I was reading this while I was eating a carb snack (wheat crackers) at 5:45pm because I got all shaky and ca-razy. I’ve been reading the mood cure, and I started on the 5-htp (I’m doing one per week or so, I’m afraid my body would over-react to more than one at a time), and I inadvertently slept in until 11am (I actually slept through the night and then some!), but skipped breakfast…so had a hearty lunch at noon, and then 5pm, wham-o! So I grab a snack while I stare vacantly into my kitchen to figure out what to make, and then I decide to hop on your blog and search for mood cure and read this, and I was laughing the whole way through. Glad you’re a few steps ahead of the journey I am now taking!!! Thank you thank you thank you!

  82. My only issue with this post is that I don’t see the logic in blaming IF when clearly the problem is BREAKING your fast with wine and chocolate. If you were eating chocolate and drinking wine to break your fast, you weren’t “trying” low carbing very hard.

  83. My only issue with this post is that I don’t see the logic in blaming IF when clearly the problem is BREAKING your fast with wine and chocolate. If you were eating chocolate and drinking wine to break your fast, you weren’t “trying” low carbing very hard. Aside from the fact that IFing is supposed to be done with carb refeeds….

    1. @Bex The issue is, people have neurotransmitter deficiencies that cause the craving. It is not about trying to FORCE yourself to do low carb better. It’s about fixing the underlying deficiencies.

  84. Hi there

    I love reading your posts. I noticed although you did the gaps diet years ago you are doing it again. I absolutely have adrenal/hormone issues but also alot of digestive issues to which I am just about to start GAPS. After reading your posts I am worried that doing GAPS will make my hormone issues so much worse. Any suggestions?

  85. sorry one more question-do you recommend NEVER to have coffee or chocalate. What is so bad about chocalate . I thought it was healthy if you ate raw organic cocoa

  86. Aha! I have been lowering my grain intake even though it is sourdough. But I keep working out and am taking a long time to lose weight. I eat the traditional diet so I know it shouldn’t be this hard. So recently I started researching caffeine. I have found the link to my weight gain and my 2 miscarriages. I’ve been drinking it three times a day! Thank you so much for all the information you shared, I am going to be ordering some supplaments recommended in the mood cure. So excited!

  87. Wow – I have been enjoying your site and the discussions. At this particular moment I just wanted to throw into the round: rectus diastasis (the seperation of the linear abdominal muscles, this occurs naturally in pregnancy, but these muscles should eventually rejoin, and often do not). Particularly as many of you mentioned having a problem after childbirth or your second child. The condition is not often diagnosed, and the exercise measures we most often taken to flatten a tummy just make it worse. The Tupler Technique is widely popular at targeting it’s repair. You can find information online to help you self-diagnose.

  88. Question: when I attempt to eat grain-free/starch free, like on the GAPS or SCD, I cannot sleep. I am always a bad sleeper, nearly 46 years old and a life-long insomniac w middle of the night wakefulness for the last 20 years or so. The last 10 years since I have been so sick, I normally pass out when my head hits the pillow and tend to go to sleep early. However, without the grains/starches, even if I feel kind of tired, I feel wired when I try to sleep. My body is ridiculously sensitive and I know these changes to my diet affect my brain chemistry immediately. I can end up feeling kind of high. I just don’t know how to choose between my digestive/thyroid/adrenal health w a grain free diet vs a sleep/sanity plan that includes a small amount of grain/starch. I am quite sure I have leaky gut, I have Hashimoto’s/hypothyroid as well as Celiac, quite sure I have adrenal fatigue and may be moving onto Fibromyalgia at this point. I am taking time off from work to try and address the health issues but not being able to sleep even as poorly as I used seems crazy.

    I appreciate any suggetions. I have the mood cure. Will look at it further tomorrow.

    1. Hi Laurie,

      I hope other people reply with further thoughts, but my first thought was that you need to replace the carbohydrates you’re losing in going grain-free to be able to keep sleeping well. Lack of carbohydrates can cause sleep loss/interruption because it can disturb hormone function so much (you might be particularly susceptible with your thyroid issues). I’m not sure what you would eat that wouldn’t aggravate your digestive system and whatever is going on there, but I would guess lots of potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, fruit, and honey (and even sugar in other forms if you tolerate it). This is my layman’s guess, anyway!

      I would definitely recommend you read Diet Recovery 2 by Matt Stone if you haven’t already.

      All the best to you, Laurie!

  89. Frirstly get off sugar, gluten and vegetable oils. Get on iodine and magnesium and a few additional supplements.
    Read the works of Dr David Brownstein, Dr Carolyn Dean, Dr Mark Sircus and you will heal yourself of excess weight, lack of sleep and the wheat belly!!!!!
    And I do believe in a lot of Dr Mercola preaches.

  90. Hi Ann Marie~
    This post is over a year and a half old…do you have an update? I’d love to hear!

  91. First off, I adore your blog. I was really curious-do you have a story on how you healed your gut for those two years? Very curious!

  92. Hi, Ann Marie! I know you have sooo many comments on here, but I have had this really interesting tid-bit of scientifically-proven info. that has been just bugging me lately! I just want to run it by you, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, and Katie the Wellness Mama, to see what your take is on this. I have bad thyroid issues, so I Googled something like “thyroid and flouride”, and this affidavit popped up by “THE” flouride expert/ scientist in the world, A.K. Susheela, Ph.D. The city of Fond Du Lac, WI, didn’t want water flouridation, so the Fond Du Lac County sued, and this scientist was called as a witness. Line #26: “Gastro-intestinal complaints are the earliest manifestations of Fluoride toxicity and Fluorosis.” Line #37: “fluoride inhibits the activity of enzymes of Glucose-6-Po dehydrogenase and pyruvate kinase in erythrocytes leading to IMPAIRMENT OF CARBOHYDRATE METABOLISM.” I’m just astonished by this, and have a really strong hunch that the reason for present-day inabilities to metabolize carbs/ gluten, etc., are because of the U.S.’s flouridation program! After reading this affidavit, we are getting a Berkey water filter to eliminate flouride poisoning, which I believe is at the heart of Celiac, leaky gut, etc., and all the modern-day problems w/ digesting carbs. Whadd’ya think??? I have never heard anyone address this! Here’s the link:

  93. Ann Marie,
    It has been a blessing to find your page. It is a tremendous help. The info concerning the adrenals, body temp, food, cooking, etc have come at the perfect time in my life. I have issues with my adrenals, thyroid, back, weight loss, etc. I work out extremely hard, restrict calories, and it has been so frustrating to not lose weight and end up binging.

    Since last year, I began to do things again the normal rationalizations of weight loss to heal my body. This included more balanced eating and just that permission alone greatly reduced the binging. But around Jul2013, I panicked when I gained a little weight during the recovery process and quickly reverted back to hard core working out and restricting calories again. Needless to say, I worked very hard and once again lost only a few pounds (about 5 or so). Basically my body ALWAYS stops dropping pounds at the same general weight. It’s like it’s programmed to stop at a certain weight.

    I am so very thankful to have found your page around the this year (2014). I discovered you around the time I was starting to wonder why nothing was working, yet still try to push ahead using the same ole methodology.

    Since discovering the info regarding eating nutrient dense foods and body temperature, I have stepped up the healthy eating a notch. I realize and ACCEPT the importance of healing the damage I have done to my body first and then focusing on my weight loss desires. When I started measuring my temperature middle of this month it was fluctuating as low as 93.3. As of yesterday and today, my waking temp has been as high as 97.3 and I even fluctuated up to 98.1.

    My pants feel a little tighter at this time, I’m surely apprehensive about gaining weight, and I don’t have a lot of people around me that I can share what I’m doing. But you know what? I’m not losing the weight anyway and my malfunctioning adrenals affected Much more then my weight, so I might as well eat nutrient dense healthy food for a good reason, get my temperatures steady, and improve the waking up from 12am-4am. Basically heal my body from the inside out and wait until it is ready to start shedding pounds. This is only for a season.

    Again, thank you so very very much!

    1. Brother’s Keeper, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! for sharing that article. I never trusted the “let’s just leave out a complete food group for ultimate health” argument. It just kills me that people follow that crappola. The author did an amazing job at pulling up all of the studies he quotes in the book, and shows how he misinterpereted the data. It was so obvious and outrageous, that it had to be purposeful for some agenda. Everything I was thinking, and now have proof to back up my hunches. Thanks again.

  94. Erika, you are most welcome, Unfortunately, I was part of the lose-weight-low-carb crowd for quite a few years. Few people are more faithful at following a diet than I am(I learned to fast very early on, and don’t have a lot of food cravings, plus, my brain is what I prefer to feed, LOL, so I can go long stretches without food. Plus, I just don’t purchase food I know is not good for me(most of the time…the way I manage that is shop when pressed for time…so I am not so tempted…sorry, a bit off topic!). Anyway, I got to the point, where I plateaued at 180. I am large boned, so it’s mostly flab when I’m looking overweight. But 150 does feel better. YET, I’m 59, so they say a bit of extra weight is good for the needed estrogen, and since I don’t consume xenoestrogens(fake estrogens) because of a very pure diet…no chemicals at all, unless I eat out, I suppose that extra adipose is good for me. NOT! I would not have it if I was exercising, but then you’ve probably also read that when you don’t feel like exercising, you probably shouldn’t, and build your adrenal health instead. Which, is probably true for me, since I burned the candle at both ends for almost a decade. I had the health to do that, but it has slowly eaten away at it, and now, I’m having to hit the sack early, and poop out pretty early. I’ve dedicated myself to getting back my energy.

    Whether it’s and agenda, purposeful or not, I sorta doubt. I just think if you don’t have solid ground for truth, then you tend to read and sift through stuff, and if you’re not careful, you are just human, and miss the obvious. I am thankful I have the foundation of truth in God’s Word, and when it comes to details it doesn’t discuss, I have to be careful. My hubby kept saying, “Linda, the Bible mentions wheat and grain in positive ways”. I knew he was right, but because low carb worked so well initially, I followed my own train of thought…chugga chugga chugga… I was wrong, dagnabit! It has taken me years, after being plateaued and then hearing a friend share the website I shared with you, to even consider change. I was DEDICATED to low carb, I tell you, and anyone around could tell you the same. So, I’m eating crow–humbled once again–and the wiser for it. PLUS, I’m making my own bread and loving it. I hope you spend some more time poking around on that site, Erika. It’s very informative. 🙂

  95. One of my arguments was that today’s wheat is different. Well, it’s not GMO, and Sue Becker discusses that aptly. Our nation is the primary exporter of Wheat to the world, and those nations would not accept GMO wheat.

    Freshly ground, and made right into bread, is how to preserve the delicate nutrients in the endosperm of the wheat. These are the nutrients we so desperately need. It’s one of our primary sources of Vitamins B and E, among many others. It loses its effectiveness, and starts going rancid after a few days NO wheat you buy in the store, according to her findings, fits that category. Personally, I have NEVER bought wheat in any store, health food store included, that didn’t have a bitter after taste. She also discusses the phytic acid issue.

    One of the things she discusses is how people she has shared the freshly made bread get well from all sorts of illnesses, including IBS! Now, that is a BIG one! Read her story about how her family got well.

  96. I have this exact problem and also found the Julia Ross materials and on her website, an excerpt from the Townsend letter describing how to heal insomnia issues. I had the early morning waking for three years and in that time, I developed belly fat where I never had any before. After reading the Julia Ross materials, I did the testing and found the early morning cortisol levels at 3:00 were in a range that was suitable for 12 noon during the day. I played with the seriphos dosages and for me the solution was to take 1 at 9:30 and 1 at 10:15. Additionally my bedtime snack is one fried egg fried in coconut oil, since I don’t eat dairy. A naturopath I consulted with insisted that the bedtime snack needs to be animal protein and fat, cholesterol so the body can convert it to glycogen. I did this and slept through the night for the first time in years and there was no cortisol surge until morning. Please note however, you are not supposed to take more than 3 seriphos in one day and you are not supposed to take this supplement indefinitely. From what I have read, you use the supplement seriphos to retrain the body, to re-sensitize and recalibrate, and get the boddy out of the stress pattern it is in, and once you have got the body in a new pattern you withdraw the seriphos. personally, I am just working through this now, having recently found this solution. I am taking a month to use the supplement to catch up on some needed rest, and then I will try first lowering my dose to 1 seriphos and then hopefully withdrawing the supplement entirely. I will also say that Julia Ross’s treatments using amino acids are also not meant to be taken indefinitely. The amino acids are to be taken until the brain has corrected itself. Each person is different regarding how long and how much aminos they need for their brain to normalize, but people will run in to trouble if they just use all these supplements indefinitely. there are two hour long lectures with Julia on youtube and if you listen to both of them carefully and take notes you can learn a lot and she does state this clearly.

  97. The Neesby brand doesn’t seem to be available anymore. It seems like there is some kind of legal infringement.

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